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Lebanese singer's judgment put off; [Final Edition] CLAUDETTE SARKIS. The Gazette. Montreal, Que.: Dec 2, 1999. pg. B.4

Copyright Southam Publications Inc. Dec 2, 1999

Lebanese singer Marcel Khalife, who went on trial here yesterday accused of "insulting religious values," will learn the verdict in the case on Dec. 15, the judge announced.

Khalife, a Maronite Christian known for his progressive views, is being prosecuted because he quoted from the Koran, the Muslim holy book, in one of his songs.

If found guilty, he could face between six months and three years in prison. However, the verdict is subject for appeal. "I am sorry to hear the word `insulting' from the court itself or in charge sheet," Khalife told the court.

"Never have I thought about insulting anything in my life. There are 19 confessions in Lebanon and I have never belonged to any of them. I have worked for the nation, for mankind," he said.

The large defence team that volunteered to defend Khalife asked for the trial to be stopped and Khalife to be declared innocent because there was no legal ground for a prosecution since there was "no criminal intention." [Illustration] Photo: (Marcel) Khalife denies "insult." ;