Laval, Canada - July 28, 2003

A Canadian citizen illegally arrested in Lebanon

Credible Canadian sources have reported that a Canadian citizen has been detained for the past three weeks in a Beirut prison (Lebanon) without any formal charges.

Bruce Balfour, a 52-year-old Calgarian, was arrested upon his arrival to Beirut airport on July 10. He was transferred to Roumieh prison, where family and friends said he was being held without formal charges. 

Balfour was detained in Beirut at the beginning of a visit to the country, along a reforestation project for the Cedars of Lebanon in association with the Maranatha Evangelistic Association. 

RCPL is deeply concerned about the physical and psychological conditions of Mr. Balfour. This is not the first time that the Lebanese authorities proceed to arrest citizens illegally. RCPL considers Mr. Balfour’s arrest illegal, as he has been held secretly without informing the Canadian embassy in Lebanon for more than 10 days, with no  contact with his family or lawyer, and as he has been detained for 3 weeks without trial or formal charges. These facts  constitute a severe violation of articles 102 and 103 of the Lebanese Code of Criminal Procedures (CCP), as well as article 9 (2, 4) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR):

Article 2: Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him.

Article 4: Anyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings before a court, in order that court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his detention and order his release if the detention is not lawful. 

RCPL urges the Canadian officials to intervene with the Lebanese authorities in order to immediately release M. Bruce Balfour for fear for his physical and mental degradation. RCPL also urges the Lebanese government to release all illegally detained people in conformity with its international commitments as per the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Declaration of Human Rights.

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