A team from the Australian television current affairs programme, 60 minutes, are currently imprisoned in Lebanon facing charges of kidnapping, hiding information, assault and forming an association to commit a crime. If found guilty they could face a lengthy custodial sentence.
The television crew had been in Lebanon to document an Australian mother’s attempt to recover her children aged six and four from her estranged husband. The husband had taken the children on a holiday to Lebanon and despite promising to return them, had not done so.
In Australia there are 250 children each year who are abducted by a parent or other family members into or out of Australia. This equates to approximately two or three children a week. Less than fifty percent of these children are recovered by the authorities and returned.
The Australian television crew comprises of reporter Tara Brown, producer Stephen Rice, cameraman Ben Williams and sound recordist David Ballmeet. They are among a group of nine people, including the children’s mother Sally Faulkner, being investigated.
The group has been questioned by Judge Rami Abdullah as part of the investigative stage and the case has been adjourned until Monday.