An Australian mother has been detained by Lebanese police after attempting to retrieve her children, who were taken to Beirut by her ex-husband without her permission.

With the help of an international child-recovery agency, Sally Faulkner travelled to Lebanon in an attempt to bring her children Lahela, 5 and Noah, 4, back to Australia. The children were allegedly snatched from their grandmother and nanny at a local bus stop, before being reunited with their mother.

While Sally and the children’s whereabouts was initially unknown, with border patrols alerted to the incident, local media authorities have now reported that the mother-of-two is behind bars and video footage has been released of Sally’s ex-husband Ali Elamine collecting his children from the local police station.

Speaking to the ABC, Elamine has called the kidnapping attempt extremely reckless, saying “What if someone armed passed by and saw the scene and started to fire? We are in Lebanon here. If they started to shoot, they could have hit one of the children. They could have shot my mother.”


Journalist Tara Brown as well as a crew from 60 minutes have also been detained, after they followed the Brisbane mum to Lebanon to film the ordeal. Channel Nine and the Australian Embassy in Lebanon are currently in negotiations to secure their release, although it’s not known when this will occur.

It’s been almost a year since Sally had seen her children, after claiming her ex-husband took Lahela and Noah to Beirut for a holiday, before telling her via Skye that he had no intention of returning the children to Australia and that Sally would never be seeing them again.


© Sally Faulkner
© Sally Faulkner


“It’s literally like a living hell,” Ms Faulkner told Daily Mail Australia in October.

“I’m desperate to hear Lahela’s voice, to hold Noah’s precious hands – to tell them both mummy loves and misses them terribly,” she said.

“It is a parent’s worst nightmare. There is no real light at the end of the tunnel.”

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  • Isnt it sad that as parents we cant work together.


  • What an awful situation. I feel sorry for the kids.


  • This case absolutely disgusts me.
    I understand that at our most desperate points we don’t think clearly, but this woman clearly jeopardized her childrens safety!
    60 Minutes should be appalled & the ridiculous level they scooped to just for a story!
    There were other avenues to go about this!
    & they did not include endangering 2 innocent children!


  • The only victims here are the children. Through sheer desperation a mother will most likely spend years behind bars in a foreign country & never see her kids again. It’s a sad state of affairs. I just hope 60 minutes did not in anyway encourage her to break the law just to get a story. That would be appalling!


  • This is so tragic and unfair, and unfortunately becoming a more common reality with mixed-country marriages/parents. I hope these children are safely returned to their home with their Mother, without any repercussions.


  • Heartbreaking indeed ! It would be good to set the father behind bars for kidnapping his children !!


  • What a heart breaking situation. Would things have been different if 60 minutes were not there? I think that at times the media make things worse. They should not get involved in custodial disputes! Beirut is such a dangerous place!


  • How horrible, I couldn’t imagine not having my children with me.


  • There should be a law that forbids one parent from removing children from country of their birth and there other parent. Yes in this case it is non Australian removing their two children to Lebanon without conscent! Children where possible should have two parents even if parents seperate. Children arenot pawns in a game but little human beings! To many times heard or seen this ocuring without just cause. This must be heartbreaking and especially Mum having to go to a country where laws are totally different to retrieve her children. Maybe I am a dremer intodays world but where possible children should have right to two parents… We are living in a world where single prents are becomng mre and more the norm! unfortunatly some men do not want their offspring but in this case seems that both parents want to see their children. This abducting to another country is not ok and some form of policy should be in pace to see does not happen. The mother or children coud as you say have been shot and Mum been arrested if one arrested then why not both til matter is settled. Tank goodness she had suport but disaster could have been done. Pleae take note of thisas a government policy that children are safe and happy with family ties . I seperated from my husband a long time ago I did not go to court but my children were older and I asked younger one still at home wht he would want. No court case.My children now adults see both my ex and I and have done so since seperation and divore. I was youth worker at time with street kids and saw damage custody bttles had on children concerned and did not want to put them through such a terribe ordeal of choosing or being told which parent had custody.. In conclusion taking your children without cnscent from other parent should be illegal. If just cause then has to be a legal seperation for safety of children…..


  • So heartbreaking. I can’t even imagine what that poor lady is going through


  • This story breaks my heart everytime I hear it. If I was in her position I would do exactly the same. I would go anything I could to get my kids back!


  • So the key word in this article is “allegedly”.
    It’s been previously reported the ex husband (Ali) had permission from Sally to take the children to Lebanon. He did not abduct the children.
    This is not the full story there is a alot that has been omitted. There is so much more to this story. Let’s hear Ali’s side before immediately sideing with Sally.
    I hope channel nines Tara brown and crew learn a lesson from trying to film an abduction taking place on the streets of Lebanon. Those poor little kids. They must be so confused and scared.


  • Any mother would have done the same. Good Luck to Sally


  • In Australia if you want to take the child out of the country you have to get the other parent to sign the passport application forms signed if they don’t already have a passport….even if the parents have never lived together.
    The media attention may be what alerted the authorities to what was happening.


  • THE LAW NEEDS TO CHANGE !!!!!!!! Enough is Enough NO PARENT should go with out there Child either the MUM or DAD!!! If you feel as i do , Its time we all should get together to contact the Australian Parliament or to all send a Letter to request to get NEW<<< LAWS to make it Highly illegal for any Parent to WITHOLD a child (EVEN) if there is no ORDERS in place <<<< or while you are waiting on orders…! I am in the same situation mine is the mother of my one and ONLY Child bad enough I was adopted and all my Family passed away recent and the only Family I have is my Daughter and now the mother ran away with my child and told me lies and does not want me to see my child all because she has a different religion than me now so she says go to the court , after stringing me on for a couple of years making it harder and harder to see my child making excuses which i believed at the time so as for Courts not only it costs a fortune for our misery which that alone we should not have to PAY !! for such a persons misery us Humans should just HELP! when it comes to a matter like this not to make MONEY on some ones SHOCKING! MISERY as it should just be illegal to begin with and for the Police to actually step in to help!! and not forgetting the time it takes before you even apply to the courts or even wait i have now lost that "BOND" with my child and they also have made my 7 year old Daughter not want to talk to me and fill her head with rubbish and lies etc.. Tell me what is a human being suppose to do??? why do we all have to SUFFER!!!! the lose of one family member which is our children is NOT<<> i bet if you go and do it to a ANIMAL”” and take one of its Babies especially a Lion see what happens Hmmm so as you see no PARENT Will be Happy with there child being withheld so to ASK a parent to stay away from there child is not HUMAN NATURE IT IS NOT NATURAL of our NORMAL HUMAN INSTINCTS to be with our Children!! But as HARD and Upsetting and Horrible it is we need to ALWAYS OBEY THE LAWS but does not mean we agree with them because as i mentioned NO parent will be happy not being with there child i can not seem to believe anyone that would be happy going without seeing there children so something needs to change the LAW<<> NO ORDERS CURRENTLY IN PLACE) and more like if there AINT NO ORDERS in place that you need to have it signed by a Government lawyer if you both agree to live in separate states or change the living arrangement which this legal service should be provided by the government “”FREE”” of charge for separated Families couples or anyone that has a child together even Non defacto etc.. ONLY for Children Issues , it should be HIGHLY ILLEGAL to not obey that new Law and also for the other Parent to not put the other parent down with that child that to should be VERY HIGHLY ILLEGAL as that Damages the CHILD big time the parent may think there on a win but in Fact if they love there child truly it is and i promise will surely damage that child so a big NO for putting the child’s parent down in front of the Child. This is what we should request to the Australian Government for them to consider this new Law so like that NO CHILD AND PARENT will SUFFER!! while they do make a final application to the court for orders.!!!! Because being apart from either parent is SUFFERING enough as it is for the Child “AND” Parent Everyone that reads this and if you feel as i do lets write to the Australian Government to request to get these Laws to change Enough is Enough…!


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