What we know about the 60 Minutes case in Beirut

Brisbane mum Sally Faulkner and a Nine Network TV crew made up of reporter Tara Brown, producer Stephen Rice, cameraman Ben Williamson and sound recordist David Ballment, are facing kidnapping and assault charges in Lebanon following a bungled abduction of Ms Faulkner’s two children in Beirut.


What happened? 

The Australians have spent a week behind bars in Beirut after being arrested for the alleged abduction on April 7.

The TV crew was filming Faulkner’s attempt to retrieve her children Noah, four, and Lahela, six, from her ex-husband Ali Elamine, who she claims kept them in Lebanon without her permission.

A professional agency, Child Abduction Recovery International, is believed to have been hired to snatch the children. Two of its members, named in media reports as Britons Adam Whittington and Craig Michael, have also been detained and charged.

RelatedThe abduction 

Security camera footage shows masked men jumping out of a car and snatching the kids from their grandmother and another woman on a Beirut street. The grandmother claims she was attacked and hit on the head with a pistol.

The TV crew and recovery agency members were arrested shortly afterwards, while Faulkner hid with her two children in a safe house.

Authorities later found the family, arrested Faulkner and returned the children to their father.

RelatedThe charges

Faulkner is facing kidnapping charges.

The 60 minutes crew is accused of:

Hiding informationForming an association with two or more people to commit a crime against a personKidnapping or holding a minor even with their approvalPhysical assault.

The offences carry penalties of up to 20 years in jail.

RelatedLegal case so far 

Judge Rami Abdullah told the Australians during a second round of interviews on Wednesday that there was no chance their charges would be dropped.

However, he indicated that if Mr Elamine was willing to drop legal action and come to an agreement with his estranged wife, that would help the case against all of the accused.

The accused will remain in detention until facing the Baabda Palace of Justice again on Monday.

Nine has refused to comment on speculation it organised and funded the recovery operation.