Bruce Balfour Found Innocent of Spying for Israel

Tuesday, September 2, 2003

Expected to be freed on Tuesday and then deported from Lebanon

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
September 2, 2003

BEIRUT, LEBANON (ANS) -- Bruce Balfour, the 52-year-old Canadian Christian charged with spying for Israel, has been found innocent by a Lebanese military court.

The military court unanimously ruled on Monday, September 1, that he was not guilty of the spying charge of collaborating with Israel, which carried a 15-year-old prison term if he had been found guilty.

Balfour had also been accused of inciting sectarian sentiments and was convicted of the lesser charge, but the tribunal said that the time he had already spent in prison since his July 10th arrest at Beirut Airport, was sufficient punishment.

He is expected to be released on Tuesday, September 2 and then deported immediately.

During a court appearance last week, Balfour, who had been in Lebanon as the field director of Cedars of Lebanon, a project to help replenish the Biblical cedar trees of the country, said that he was not a spy and that he served God and Jesus.

Ibrahim Hariri, Balfour's lawyer, had argued his client had visited Israel on a religious mission.

Grant Livingston, another Canadian citizen who stood trial in absentia on the same charge of collaborating with the enemy – Israel -- was also found innocent.