April 7, 2016
60 Minutes reporter Tara Brown and a film crew have been detained by Lebanese police after trying to film the recovery of two Australian children who had been taken to Beirut by their Lebanese father.
Brown, veteran producer Steven Rice and a cameraman were reporting on an operation to recover the two children of Brisbane woman Sally Faulkner from her former husband Ali Elamine.
The children, Lahala, 5, and Noah, 2, were taken to Lebanon for a holiday by Mr Elamine who runs a Beirut surf business.
Despite promising the holiday would last for only a short period of time Mr Elamine is alleged to have refused to return the children to Australia.
Ms Faulkner then made a number of appeals for public funding to try to recover the children from Beirut including an approach to the Foreign Affairs Department.
Ms Faulkner had travelled to Lebanon to meet up with Tara Brown and her crew for the ‘recovery’ by UK-based agency Child Abduction Recovery International (CARI).
Fairfax Media understands the 60 Minutes crew were in Beirut with Ms Faulkner to film a private operation involving an international child-recovery agency trying to snatch the children from the father.
But after Ms Faulkner and the children escaped to a safe house, Beirut police located the 60 Minutes crew and employees of the recovery agency and local security, and sought to interview them.
On Thursday morning, Beirut media have reported the incident as a kidnapping involving the children being snatched at a bus stop while they waited with their grandmother.
Reports said four men driving a silver Hyundai had grabbed the children.
Fairfax Media understands a car and a boat, which were to have been used in the recovery operation, have been seized by police, and local fixers were also involved in the operation.
Ms Faulkner and the children are thought to have avoided interception by police but their whereabouts are unknown.
60 Minutes, on Thursday morning, confirmed it understood Brown and the crew were detained in Lebanon while reporting on a story.
Executive producer Kirsty Thompson said 60 Minutes was working with authorities to resolve the situation.
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