Mum still detained in Lebanon over kidnap

The Lebanese father of two children at the centre of an alleged kidnapping attempt says he won’t push for charges against their Australian mother, who remains in custody.

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Ali el Amien has been reunited with his children, but their mother, Sally Faulkner, has been detained by local police for allegedly kidnapping them using an international child recovery agency on a busy Beirut street.

A TV crew with the Nine Network’s 60 Minutes program who were in Lebanon to film the attempt have also been detained.

Mr el Amien says he won’t file charges against Ms Faulkner.

“She is the mother of my children,” Mr el Amien told The Guardian.

“I saw her and I was thinking, `Oh what did you do? What were you thinking’?

“I wasn’t angry. I was disappointed. You could have just showed up and said you wanted to see the kids. She knows that.”

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has confirmed the TV crew, including journalist Tara Brown, a producer and a cameraman, are still being held in detention.

“The question of charges is an issue that will be determined shortly,” she told reporters.

“I cannot understate the seriousness with which the Lebanese authorities are viewing the case, but we’re doing all we can to maintain contact with all of the parties involved.

“Given the sensitivities of this case and the fact children are involved, we are handling this very carefully.”

Mr el Amien has also said he had access to his ex-wife’s emails and knew that a recovery operation was being planned.

It is unknown what charges Ms Faulkner may face from Lebanese authorities.

Mr el Amien has previously told media he believes the recovery attempt put the children’s safety in jeopardy, with security camera footage appearing to show them being bundled into a car by several people in southern Beirut.

Ms Faulkner, from Brisbane, claims her ex-husband refused to bring them back to Australia after taking them on holiday to Beirut.

She has long hoped to get her children back to Australia and in October last year set up a petition calling on Ms Bishop to do more to help.

Reports that Lebanese officials have unconfirmed evidence that Nine paid more than $100,000 for the recovery operation were not confirmed by the network.