Australian Mother, Sally Faulkner, and TV Crew Let Go After Kidnapping Attempt in Beirut

By Andrew Simontacchi, Epoch Times
April 20, 2016 Updated: April 20, 2016

In an attempt to take back custody of her two children, a mother from Australia landed herself and a TV crew in a Beirut jail two weeks ago.

Sally Faulkner and eight crew members from Australia’s Channel 9 botched the operation to seize the children, landing them in the Lebanon jail.

The father of the children has since decided to drop the charges, sparing his estranged wife and the TV crew of standing trial against a possible 15-year sentence. Faulkner and the crew were released on April 20 and are on their way back to Australia.

Ali al-Amin, the father of the two children, who are ages 5 and 3, said he dropped the charges because he “didn’t want the kids to think I was keeping their mother in jail.”

If the charges were not dropped, Faulkner and the crew would have had to return to Lebanon to stand trial, after posting bail, according to Judge Rami Abdullah. 

“There is a crime that happened, and everyone has a role in the affair,” Abdullah said.

Faulkner, had previously agreed to allow al-Amin to take custody and raise the children in Lebanon—but Faulkner had reached out to the TV crew for help in an attempt to grab the children and take them back to Australia. 

According to a Channel 9 News report, journalist Tara Brown, along with 60 Minutes cameraman Benjamin Williamson, sound recordist David Ballment, and producer Stephen Rice, faced charges of kidnapping, physical assault, hiding information, and criminal conspiracy.

Faulkner and the crew also face charges from al-Amin’s mother, who claims she was knocked down during the incident and suffered a head injury.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.