Lebanese-Australian child custody case unexpectedly postponed

Ali al-Amin (centre with his children) Noah (left) ,  and Lahela right),
Ali al-Amin (centre with his children) Noah (left) , and Lahela right),

60 Minutes reporter Tara Brown, her colleagues and Brisbane mum Sally Faulkner will spend at least another two nights behind bars in Beirut.

The group faces charges in Beirut on kidnapping, physical assault, hiding information, and criminal conspiracy after an attempted custody snatch.

They were expected to learn their fate today, but the judge hearing the case has adjourned it for two days to allow for further negotiations between Faulkner and her estranged husband.

Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, said this will give the parties and their lawyers chance to come up with a solution.

“It would obviously be the best outcome in the interests of the children and the interests of the parents, and we obviously want to see all Australians detained brought home to Australia as soon as possible.”

The Lebanese father of  the two children at the centre of a custody battle says he will not drop attempted kidnapping charges against his estranged Australian wife.

CCTV footage allegedly shows a car approaching the youngsters while they were walking to school in Beirut before several people got out of the vehicle and bundled them inside.

Among those detained by Lebanese authorities were Australian TV presenter Tara Brown and crew members Benjamin Williamson, David Ballment and Stephen Rice. Two Britons working for CARI and two Lebanese citizens were also detained.

On the other hand Mr Ali al Amin is accused of abducting the couple’s children and taking them from Australia to Lebanon last year without the knowledge of his wife, Sally Faulkner, who is charged with attempting to snatch them back.

Mr Amin has indicated he wants to negotiate separately with Ms Faulkner rather than discuss charges against the other suspects as part of a comprehensive deal.

“They’re trying to link everything up with (Faulkner) but I don’t have time for that,” said Ali.

“The kids are good, that’s the most important thing. And everything else, we’ll see what happens.”

Faulkner’s lawyer, Ghassan Moughabghab, said that Mr Amin’s legal team halted negotiations on Saturday and was not making concessions. “He said he is not in a hurry,” the lawyer said.

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