The 39 year old Robul Haquel makes legal history in the UK as he has been convicted to nine months in prison for possessing ´prohibited´ images that depict young anime girls – some in school uniforms and others exposing themselves and/or engaging in sexual activity.
This was was not the first run-in with the law for the jobless Robul Haquel – who then lived in South Bank, Middlesbrough– in 2008 he was prosecuted for possessing “Tomb Raider-style” computer-generated pictures of fictional children, and was required to complete a sex-offender treatment program. Haquel also had hundreds of these type of pictures, but this feat wasn´t made ilegal until 2010. The nine month sentence may be suspended if Hoque maintains good behavior and follows the court’s requirements for two years.
“This case should serve as a warning to every manga and anime fan to be careful. It seems there are many thousands of people in this country, if they are less then careful, who may find themselves in that position too.” Says Richard Bennett, who served as Hoque´s defense attorney.
Moreover, Hoque lived and cared for his mother as he hoped to set up his own business, unfortunately for him, the case has been hanging over him for more than two years as he claims that he had been physically attacked since the allegations were publicised.
“They are clearly all images designed to make people think they are of children. They are fictitious images in the sense that in no part of them does any real person appear. It is important to emphasise that there were no actual children or perpetrators involved.
You are an intelligent man. You certainly should have been aware of the risk of indulging in accessing this material, and you acknowledge your foolishness and guilt.
This is material that clearly society and the public can well do without. Its danger is that it obviously portrays sexual activity with children, and the more it’s portrayed, the more the ill-disposed may think it’s acceptable.” Says Judge Tony Briggs.
Some argue that this is embarassing and ridiculous, their reason being that since no children were actually harmed, no crime was really happening. Others believe that this was the right course of action as it may prevent any serious issues in the future.
Personally, I´m somewhere in the middle. Certainly, Hoque has been on the police´s radar for a while what with his previous cases but, then again, none of these were for harassment of actual human children.
I also think that UK anime and manga fans should take Bennett´s words with a grain of salt, because I honestly doubt that anyone will care wheter or not you watch Highschool Of The Dead but instead find out if you´ve been actively searching for loli porn in your office.