Beirut – Members of a TV filming crew, working for the Australian show 60 Minutes, were detained in Lebanon for collaborating in the kidnapping of two children. The children’s mother, Sally Faulkner, is said to be behind the incident, which occurred in Beirut on Wednesday.
Ali Zeid al-Amin, the father of the victims, commented that he was very concerned about the safety of his children, even though he had received a direct phone call from their mother who told him they were with her.
According to international agreements such as the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, children can be indeed taken from a specific location if the procedures are performed by a relative. Australia is a signatory party of the Convention but Lebanon is not.
How and why did it happen?
Lahela, 6, and Noah, 4, were waiting for their school bus with their grandmother at 7:10am, at the outskirts of southern Beirut. The children were from Australia, but they were currently residing in Beirut with their Lebanese dad.
The TV crew was participating in filming an operation led by a child recovery agency as Falkner contacted the Australian TV show 60 Minutes, which airs on Channel Nine, in order to film the whole process of her recovering her children. She stated that the father took them for holiday vacations and then refused to return them to Australia.
There was a continued plan to leave with the children by boat. Supposedly, $120,000 were paid by the TV show to the child recovery agency to execute the operation. The father argues that his ex-wife was comfortable with him leaving with his children on Lebanon, only until he refused to pay any more alimony.
As the children were waiting on the street, a car passed by and 3 unidentified individuals proceeded to jump off from it, then went and carried the children to the interior of the vehicle before it took off. The events were recorded in a CCTV video and the video was aired by a Lebanese television station.
The Australian crew along Faulkner were unable to be reached for almost a whole day until they were found in a police station in Beirut. Lebanese authorities then let them contact Australian embassy officials to receive instructions in the procedure.