Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes team will appear in court in Lebanon, Beirut today, facing a number serious charges, including kidnapping.
The charges, which effect 10 people including Brisbane mother Sally Faulkner and TV host Tara Brown, follow the failed attempt to retake Faulkner’s two children who have been living with her ex-husband and American-Lebanese dual national Ali Elamine in Lebanon for the past year.
In May 2015, Elamine said he was taking the children on a holiday to Lebanon, and then refused to return them.
Faulkner has custody of the children in Australia, while Elamine has custody in Lebanon.
The group will front the Babda Palace of Justice today charged with hiding information, forming an association with two or more people to commit crime against a person, kidnapping or holding a minor even with their approval, and physical assault.
The charges laid against the group could see them spend any time from three years to life in jail.
Yesterday a judge individually interviewed each of the accused in his chambers. Today he will decide on whether to uphold the charges, and or grant bail pending further inquiries. This could mean they may have to remain in Lebanon until investigations are resolved.
A masked international child custody rescue specialist had tried to take three-year-old Noah and five-year-old Lahela from their nanny and grandmother as they waited for their school bus. During the incident the children’s 69-year-old grandmother was pushed to the ground, sustaining minor injuries.
The scene captured by street CCTV cameras and the Channel 9 crew filming nearby.
Internal security officers found Faulkner and the children in a raid shortly after they had been taken, arresting the Brisbane mum and returning the children to their father.
Following the botched plan Faulkner made a personal plea for clemency outside the court yesterday.
There are reports that the Nine Network has launched an internal investigation into the incident which the network reportedly paid a six figure sum toward the recovery plan.
Business Insider has reached out to the network and are waiting to hear back.
Meanwhile Australian diplomats in Lebanon and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials in Canberra have been supporting the detained Australians.
“The 60 Minutes crew and Ms Faulkner are being held as part of an ongoing investigation,” the DFAT spokesperson said.
“The Australian Government is providing all appropriate consular assistance.”
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