Lebanese-Australian TV kidnapping case investigated by joint commission

Lebanese-Australian TV kidnapping case investigated by joint commission
2 min read
14 April, 2016
The arrest of an Australian mother and four members of an Australian television crew for attempted child abduction will be investigated by a joint Lebanese-Australian commission.
The two children were out with their grandmother in Beirut when abducted [AFP]
A joint Australian-Lebanese commission has been set up to examine a child abduction case that found a mother and a television crew guilty of kidnapping two children in Lebanon.

The commission aims to "resolve the legal crisis in the custody case of the two children", and was announced after Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil met with Australian Ambassador Glenn Miles.

Bassil said the case "would take its legal course in accordance with Lebanese laws" and insisted he would consider Australian citizen Sally Faulkner's "claim to her two children on the one hand, and on the other, the case of the journalists who were trying to get a scoop".

On Tuesday, Lebanese courts charged Faulkner - the mother of the two children - and four members of Australia's Channel Nine television crew "for kidnapping the two children and for taking part in the crime".

The television crew were filming with the mother for a programme named 60 Minutes, broadcast on Australian television.

Faulkner claims the Lebanese father of the two children took them to Beirut for a "holiday", and later refused to return them to Australia.

A statement from Channel Nine confirmed that its journalists "are facing being charged with offences related to kidnapping".

Tara Brown, producer Stephen Rice, cameraman Ben Williamson and sound recordist David Ballment were identified as members of the crew.

A spokeswoman for Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the allegations would now be considered by an investigative judge.