Australian mother Sally Faulkner has spoken for the first time from her Beirut prison cell, telling her family she’s ok and not to visit her.
The 29-year-old Brisbane woman is facing kidnapping charges after she was arrested along with a Channel Nine TV crew last week over a botched attempt in Beirut to take back her two children with her estranged husband.
“Please tell my mum and dad how well I am and also Brendan and my in-laws” she told News Corp in an interview published on Friday.
“I am fine but my loved ones need to know that.”
She’s told her family not come to Lebanon saying they had priorities at home and she didn’t want them to get more distressed.
It is understood Ms Faulkner left behind her current partner, Brendan Pierce, and their three-month-old baby to travel to the Middle East with a professional child recovery agency to carry out the kidnapping.
The children, Noah, 3 and Lahela, 5 are being kept in Lebanon by Ali Elamine without her permission, she says.
Ms Faulkner is sharing a cell with 60 Minutes journalist Tara Brown, who with three male TV crew members followed Ms Faulkner to Lebanon to cover the story.
Both women are trying to be positive about their situation and says they’ve been treated well in prison.
Along with 60 Minutes producer Stephen Rice, cameraman Ben Williamson and sound recordist David Ballment, they’re facing charges of kidnapping, physical assault, hiding information and criminal conspiracy.
A Beirut judge said on Wednesday there was “no way the charges will be dropped”.
“There was a violation of the Lebanese authority by all these people, it’s a crime,” Judge Rami Abdullah said.
Ms Faulkner’s lawyer has stressed the key to the outcome of the case relies on Mr Elamine dropping the charges or coming to an agreement with his ex-wife over their children on custody or access.
“I would leave Beiruit in a heartbeat, but events have to follow their course,” Ms Faulkner said.
The Guardian is citing a Beirut judicial source as saying Ms Faulkner could be released on bail as early as Monday if an agreement is reached.
The Australians are due to appear in court again on Monday.