Image: Channel 9
A Lebanese judge has recommended charges for Brisbane mother Sally Faulkner and child recovery agent Adam Whittington after the botched child rescue operation conducted by Channel Nine's 60 Minutes program. They could face up to seven years in prison.
Ms Faulkner escaped from the two weeks she spent in prison in Lebanon when the Nine network paid a large amount of money (probably about $500,000) to her estranged husband Ali Elamine and she relinquished her custodian rights of the children. However Ms Faulkner is now facing kidnapping charges, and has 'expressed shock' but hasn't commented further according to Fairfax Media, who broke the news.
AAP reports that Ms Faulkner's lawyer, Ghassan Moughabghab, said there is a very low chance that she will return to jail in Lebanon during the trial, which is 'the only good news in this situation'.
Adam Whittington is also facing kidnapping charges for carrying out the operation, though has had more serious charges related to criminal gangs dropped.
The botched kidnapping occurred when Ms Faulkner's estranged husband took her two children on a two-week holiday to Lebanon, but didn't return them to Australia.
The Nine Network journalists and crew have avoided criminal charges, being charged instead with the misdemeanour of failing to inform authorities of a criminal act. This will probably incur a fine as punishment.
A spokeswoman from Channel Nine has released a statement addressing the trial.
"We have been advised tonight by our legal team in Lebanon that the charges our 60 Minutes crew are facing in Lebanon have been downgraded," a spokeswoman said.
"There will still be a trial on a date to be determined and out of respect for the Lebanese legal process we will not be making any further comment while the matter is still before the court."