Excerpts from Bruce Balfour's third court appearance
Bruce Balfour's third court hearing on Wednesday 27/8/03, focused on his Christian faith and on his stances and believes about Islam. This diversion in the hearing from the main espionage charges was triggered according to the prosecutor by several documents that were found in Balfour's suitcases after receiving them recently from the British Airways.
The court apparently tried through the kind and content of the questions it bombarded Balfour with to make him look as anti Islam person who is trying to hurt this religion. But Balfour's answers did not give the court what it was trying to get. Balfour did not fall in this trap that apparently the court resorted to after it found that it has no grounds to try him on the espionage fabricated charges. The only question related to espionage that was asked during the hearing was: "Did you spy for Israel interests"? Balfour denied and said: " I do not spy for any body's interest, I did not spy for for any body's interest, I serve Jesus Christ's word only".
In response to a question addressing the time when South Lebanon was liberated, Balfour requested a clarification about the concept of liberation. The judge specified it as the withdrawal of the Israelis from South Lebanon in year 2000. The judge asked Balfour if what Lebanon considers liberation he considers occupation? Balfour replied by saying: " I have no opinion on this matter, I don't live here".
The Military tribunal court was presided by Brigadier Maher Safieddine. Members of tribunal were Judge Nassieb Elia, a civil consulate and and the prosecutor, judge Sami Sodki.
Bruce Balfour was brought to the court room guarded, but without hand cuffs. With him were his his two lawyers, Ibrahim Al Hariri and George Essaf. The Canadian consulate in Beirut and the Canadian embassy's lawyer, Fawzi Al Matni were present with other employees from the Canadian embassy who taped the session verbatim. Also some of Balfour's friends were in the court room.
The witness Saeed Azzouri did not attend because of a urinary tract surgery performed to him at the Hotel Deo hospital. His lawyer Zahier Azzouri attended and presented to the court a medial report stating the witness's excuse for not being able to attend.
Brigadier Safieddine announced that he has received from Police two suitcases that belong to Balfour on the request of the government's designated representative, judge Maroun Zakour. The suitcases contained documents, religious books and brochures.Some of them were written by Balfour himself (his own hand writing)
Balfour was asked if the suitcases belonged to him. He said yes, they are mine, and stated that he does not know why their arrival was delayed, "may be this has to do with the British Airways that I flow with to Beirut air port on 10/7/03. "I brought them with me, (the suitcases), but did not reach the airport on my arrival".
Balfour was told by the court that one of the documents found in his suitcases contained statements saying : " The devil will build a fort on earth and will strengthen his evil kingdom, and Islam is the devil's earth". Many questions the judge asked revolved around Balfour's religious beliefs. Balfour stated that the Old Testament does not mention Islam and that "God's word starts with Jesus and does not end. It will be for all the people when Jesus comes again. When the second Judgment Day takes place Jesus' word will be high and people will know about it. Jesus lived for 33 years then he was crucified, Islam came after him with approximately 600 years."
Question: How come that in one of the statement you wrote (your own hand writing) it
was stated that Islam is the devil's earth?
Balfour's answer: " I did not say that. The earth is for God and the devil tries to take it from him.
question: Is for you Islam and the devil are two names for one person?
Balfour's answer: Definitely no, the devil is effective among Christians too.
Question: Why did you name the Islam's earth as the devil?
Balfour's answer: I teach the Holy Book, this is a small part of my study that prepared few months ago and it is not complete yet. Balfour denied that he had used this same study to convince, engineer Fadi Al Hussaini, the Lebanese employee of the agriculture ministry, to convert to Islam, during his tour with him in the Jazzine area when he was showing him places that could be suitable for planting the Cedar trees.
Question (judge Sodki): Do you believe in Jesus' apostles, and do you consider his
Balfour's answer: I believe in Jesus, but do not believe in his followers from the disciples.
Question (Brigadier Safi Eddine): Is Lord Balfour, the mastermind of dividing
Palestine and giving it to the Israelis is one of your grandfathers?
Balfour's answer: This is a far possibility (probability), I was born in a small family far from the British Aristocracy.
Question: Did the Jesus mentioned in the Holy Book come, or not yet?
Balfour's answer: He came, died and resurrected. I believe that God's word is present in the Holy Book. I believe in every thing written and present in the Gneiss to the revelation verses of the Book, that to say, the 66 books.
Question: If you believe in his books, why then you don't believe in his apostles?
Balfour's answer: I believe in what came in the Holy Book.
Question: What is the name of the God that you believe in?
Balfour's answer: Jesus
Balfour said:" I visited Lebanon for the first time in the early eighties, and my last visit was in January 2001. I visited Saeed Azzouri in his home in Jazzine. My friend Grant Livingstone gave him a gift, a book written by a Canadian, I believe he is the priest that Grant affiliates to religious wise. No one was with me during that visit except Grant.
Question: In your personal understanding, do you consider what is meant by the devil,
is the Islam that is present on this earth?
Balfour's answer: Every one on the face of the earth, who does not obey God is evil, no matter if he is Muslim, Christian or Jewish.
Question: Did you commit any act of espionage (spying) for Israel's interest?
Balfour's answer: "I do not spy for any body's interest, I did not spy for any body's interest. I serve the risen Savior and Him alone." I
Prosecutor Sodki requested to have the documents in question for reviewing, checking
and translation, because he did not do so before and then put them for open debate.
Balfour's lawyer Hariri said: " the defense is not responsible for the prosecutor's defaults in presenting all (the documents) that he has, and if these documents contain new evidence, then they are outside the realm of the pressed charge. The court has taken a religious track that has no relation to Balfour charges, meanwhile these documents do no present any wrongdoing by Balfour.
Prosecutor Sodki argued that these documents might contain new evidence that could be the basis for new charges and a new case.
After a 45 minutes recession the court refused the prosecutor's request based on the fact he had presented these documents and papers in accordance with the existing case and should have reviewed them before referring them to the court. Accordingly there is no need for them in this on going case. In case the prosecution sees in these papers what builds for another case he could take a photocopy of the file and the documents after the end of the trial to decide on what he deems appropriate.
The court was adjourned till next Monday for a verdict,. The court refused Balfour's lawyers' request for his release on bail.
N.B: Zayna Abu Slieman, an employee from the Canadian embassy conducted the translation.
It was learned that the Canadian Minister for immigration will visit Lebanon to have first hand information about Balfour's case from the Lebanese officials.
( Translated from Arabic by: The Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation Media Committee from the Arabic court script that was published by Assafir newspaper on 28/8/03)