ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 2126, Garden Grove, CA 92842-2126 USA
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Saturday, July 26, 2003

Bruce Balfour has appealed from his prison cell in Beirut for urgent help "before disappearing forever"

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

BERUIT, LEBANON  (ANS) -- Bruce Balfour, a British Colombia native, who heads up Cedars of Lebanon, a Christian humanitarian ministry that was planning to help replenish the mighty Cedars of Lebanon in the mountains of northern Lebanon, was arrested at Beirut Airport in the evening of July 10 for the "crime" of visiting Israel. (Pictured: Bruce Balfour).

This news has only become known after Balfour finally managed to get a message out his cell to the Canadian Ambassador in Lebanon. In the message, monitored by ANS, he wrote, "After 11 days of hell in Lebanese prisons, I am finally allowed to make contact with you. I have tried more than 100 times to make contact but nothing worked."

He went on to say, "When I arrived at the Beirut Airport on Thursday, July 10th, at about 9:30 PM on British Airways flight 6703, I was arrested because a computer entry said that I have been in Israel at one time, which is true. But please tell me where the crime in this is. My freedom has been taken away and I have been treated horribly. This is against all international law and moral code of every civilized country in the world.

"I need to get out of here now. Every hour multiples the possibility of me being moved to another location and disappearing forever."

In a second message, Balfour said that he was in Rumy Prison. "I am on the top floor with South Lebanon prisoners," he said. He also asked for help from people around the world. "I desperately need your help," he said. "I pray that you will not forsake me!"

ANS has now learned from a source close to Balfour that the Canadian government is demanding from the Lebanese government an explanation as to why they were not informed earlier of his arrest.

Since receiving his urgent message, a Canadian diplomat has visited Balfour in prison. A source said, "He appears to be in good condition; he lost some weight and he is presently fasting. There is no time limit for his release as he is not formally charged and the Canadian government is pursuing this matter at this time.

"Bruce has requested some items such as clothes, hygienic products and food items. All the items requested came to a total of US$250.00. The Embassy in Lebanon is requesting the funds through Ottawa, so they can purchase these items and deliver them to Bruce on their next visit."
Bruce John Balfour was born in Westminster, BC, Canada, on July 6, 1951. He had previously worked in Lebanon with a group called Lebanon Aid which provided humanitarian relief during the civil war in the country.

Updates on his situation are due to be posted on his website at
Dan Wooding is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times). Wooding is also a syndicated columnist, and was for ten years a commentator on the UPI Radio Network in Washington, DC. Wooding is the author of some 41 books, one of which is "Blind Faith" which he co-authored with his 93-year-old mother Anne Wooding, who was a pioneer missionary to the blind of Nigeria in the 1930s. Copies of this book are available from the ASSIST USA office at PO Box 2126, Garden Grove, CA 92842-2126. His writings are on the ASSIST Website at:

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