An Australian television crew charged with kidnapping two children from their father in Beirut have returned home to Australia. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
NATURAL ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION An Australian "60 Minutes" television crew charged with kidnapping children from their father in Beirut returned to Sydney on Thursday (April 21), after being released from a Lebanese jail. The four-member crew, including journalist Tara Brown, were whisked away from the airport amid a large media scrum. "Seeing Laura, my wife and having a very, very, very long shower," said sound recordist, David Ballment when asked what he was looking forward to now home. The mother of the children, Sally Faulkner, also charged with kidnapping, will remain in Beirut for a custody hearing, the Nine Network reported. Faulkner and the four-member Australian television crew were charged on April 12 with involvement in kidnapping after her two children were snatched off the street following a custody dispute with their Lebanese father. The judge, Rami Abdallah, said father Ali Zeid al-Amin had dropped charges against them. Bail was paid and they were free to leave the country, he and the lawyer representing them said. At the time of the kidnapping incident, Lebanese authorities said they had prevented the woman and the crew from taking al-Amin and Faulkner's two children back to Australia. CCTV footage broadcast on Lebanese television appeared to show several people grabbing the children, who the father said were aged five and three, from their grandmother and bundling them into a car. Faulkner was subsequently arrested and the children were returned to their father. Lebanon, unlike Australia, is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which allows for children normally resident in one location to be returned if taken by a relative.