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Australian TV Crew Charged with Kidnapping in Lebanon

  • VOA News

Lebanon

Lebanon

Prosecutors in Lebanon charged an Australian television crew and a mother with abduction after they were allegedly involved in the kidnapping of the woman's two children, Lebanon's state television agency reported Tuesday.

Sally Faulkner, an Australian national, and the four-person television crew were arrested last week after Faulkner allegedly hired a team of retrieval agents to kidnap her two children from their father, with whom they had been staying.

The Lebanese court charged nine people with kidnapping the children, the National News Agency reported. Faulkner and the news team were among those arrested, along with two employees of the U.K.-based organization Child Abduction Recovery International (CARI) and two Lebanese men, officials said.

Faulkner claims the children's father took them to Lebanon last year without permission and never returned them to Australia. The television crew was identified as members of a news team from Australia's Nine Network. The network said in a statement that the news team was "seeking to highlight" cross-border custody disputes.

Footage of incident

The two children disappeared Wednesday while they waited for their school bus.

Security camera video of the incident shows several large men emerging from a parked car and grabbing two young children, believed to be Faulkner's four-year-old son and six-year-old daughter, as they walk with two women. A car then speeds away as one of the women falls to the ground and the other briefly gives chase on foot before walking back to aid the fallen woman.

Local news agencies report the two women are the children's paternal grandmother and nanny.

Police located and arrested the television crew April 7. Faulkner was arrested later in the day at a home in Beirut, where her children were also found.

The children are now staying with their father at his home outside Beirut.

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