Australian woman to face kidnapping charges in Lebanon

Sydney, July 1 (IANS) An Australian woman is set to face kidnapping charges in Lebanon following a botched child recovery operation with a television network.

Sally Faulkner and those hired to carry out the child recovery mission face kidnapping charges and up to seven years in jail, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported on Friday.

The crew of “60 Minutes”, a flagship news programme for Australia’s Nine Network, who were filming the story in Lebanon will escape the saga with only a fine, Xinhua news agency reported.

Faulkner and the “60 Minutes” crew returned to Australia in April after the Nine Network secured their release.

The operatives hired to carry out the child recovery effort, however, were not included in the deal.

Faulkner’s lawyer is hopeful the charge will be dismissed on appeal.

The lawyer representing Adam Whittington, the man from a British-based international “child recovery” agency who attempted to bring Faulkner’s children back to Australia said an appeals court had to approve or overturn the decision.

“We are fully confident with the Lebanese criminal justice system that whenever it goes to a trial we will reach to the right appropriate decision, where they consider a kidnapping of a child by his mother is not a kidnapping,” lawyer Joe Karam said.

Channel Nine confirmed the charges against its staff in a statement.

“There will still be a trial on a date to be determined and out of respect for the Lebanese legal process we will not be making any further comment while the matter is still before the court,” they said.

Lebanese authorities alleged in April that the Australian TV crew, who were filming the recovery operation as part of a story, paid the British-based recovery agents 115,000 Australian dollars ($85,680).

Faulkner’s two children currently reside in Lebanon with their father.

–IANS

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