The Tokyo District Court acquitted a Buddhist monk Monday on charges of trespassing at a housing complex in Katsushika Ward, Tokyo, while distributing fliers for the Japanese Communist Party in December 2004.

"It was tremendous torture that I was detained for 23 days and had to go through this trial for 1 1/2 years," Yosei Arakawa said at a news conference after the ruling. "I'm delighted (with the ruling) because it may stop (police) suppression of free speech."

Presiding Judge Takaaki Oshima said distributing political leaflets in the building was not illegal because such acts have long been considered socially acceptable.