Lebanon charges Australian mother, TV crew in abduction case

 12 Apr 2016 - 15:44

Lebanon charges Australian mother, TV crew in abduction case

Beirut: A Lebanese court has charged an Australian woman and a four-person Australian television crew for abducting her two children in Beirut, a judicial source and Lebanon's National News Agency said Tuesday.

Sally Faulkner was detained last week after she allegedly kidnapped her two young children, who were staying in Beirut with their Lebanese father.

Lebanon's Internal Security Forces said at the time that four Australian journalists, two Britons, and two Lebanese citizens were also arrested for their involvement in the case.

On Tuesday, a Lebanese court charged nine people, including Faulkner, "for kidnapping the two children and for taking part in the crime," the NNA agency reported.

A judicial source told AFP that the four-person crew from Channel Nine's "60 Minutes" programme were among those charged.

The source said the nine individuals would now be formally interrogated. 

Faulkner has said that the children's Lebanese father, from whom she is divorced, took them for a holiday to Beirut and then allegedly refused to return them to Australia.

She had reportedly been working with a child recovery agency to bring back the children, and the "60 Minutes" crew was recording the operation.

A grainy video of the incident released by Lebanon's Al-Jadeed television showed the children walking with an elderly person, reportedly their grandmother.

Several figures jump out of a nearby car and carry the children into the vehicle, which then speeds off.

The television crew was arrested on Thursday morning, and Faulkner was later found with the two children in a home in Beirut.

Both children, who Australian media said are a six-year-old girl and a four-year-old boy, are now with their father in a southern Beirut suburb.