After nearly 2 1/2 months in detention, three antiwar activists accused of illegally entering a Self-Defense Forces housing complex in Tachikawa, western Tokyo, to distribute protest leaflets, were freed on bail Tuesday.

But their legal battle before the Tokyo District Court's Hachioji branch continues. The three have admitted entering the complex, a series of nondescript apartment blocks with partial fences, to post handbills protesting the SDF deployment to Iraq. They argue their actions, which the group has been engaged in for two decades, violate no laws.

Amnesty International has meanwhile declared them "prisoners of conscience."