The father at the centre of a child abduction saga in Lebanon says he is not willing to drop charges against his estranged wife.

News.com.au reports, he is refusing because he believes it would lead to the release of the Nine Network news team who filmed the operation and those who carried it out.

“The way they are trying to push for this is that if (Australian woman) Sally (Faulkner) goes out on bail, they all get out,” 32-year-old Ali Elamine said as he prepared to meet the judge Rami Abdullah on Monday.

“That is how I am seeing it as an outsider. … They are pushing for Sal’s release and everyone else gets a green card.”

Nine had “dropped the ball by getting involved in family matters” and now “everyone is blaming the other for what happened”, he added.

He discounted claims by Ms Faulkner’s lawyer, Ghassan Moughabghab, that negotiations over the custody dispute had broken down, saying they had not started.

“All that’s happened is the judge asked us to talk.”

UPDATE 19 April – Speaking on 3AW

Ali el-Amine has spoken to 3AW radio’s Neil Mitchell, describing the situation as “bullcrap” and addressing the ongoing negotiations with his estranged wife, Sally Faulkner.

“They came into our country and they’ve done something that’s illegal,” he said. “If the tables were turned, if I were to show up in Australia and try to kidnap someone, I’d probably be shot on the spot, called a terrorist.”

Mr el-Amine said that his two children are unaware that their mother is behind bars and are both doing well.

“They are are a bit scared, a bit shaken by the whole situation,” he told 3AW. “I mean, having some randoms come out into the middle of the street and snatch you, I don’t think anyone would want that.”

“I could drop the personal charges,” he told 3AW, “but the public prosecution is probably going to go forward.”

“It’s all in the prosecutors hands.”

60 minute crew: “It’s what they do”

Earlier today the loved ones of the 60 minute crew issued a joint statement…

In a joint statement exclusive to NewsCorp Australia, John McAvoy, Denise Alexander Rice, Cara Williamson and Laura Battistel described the group’s long-distance ordeal as: ‘a living nightmare.”

“It’s hard to imagine it could be any tougher. From what we know, they are in good health, keeping their spirits up and are being well looked after by the Lebanese authorities. You can’t imagine how comforting it is to know that. That is all that is getting us through at the moment.”

“We’ve formed our own crew back here because we’re all in the same boat. Our natural instinct was to fly over and be there for them. Immediately. But our desire to be over there, possibly see them for ourselves and to give them our love and support has to be balanced against the advice from the people on the ground and that [advice] is to stay here.”

“Some of us haven’t even told our children what’s happening yet. It’s not an easy conversation to have with a five or seven-year-old who ask as they go to sleep each night when mummy or daddy is coming home. Understandably we are all anxious and worried sick.”

They have said: “this notion that we are somehow being kept in the dark or not receiving regular updates is beyond absurd. The updates are daily. And hugely valued. Nine is sharing whatever it knows as they hear about it. It is a day-to-day proposition, complicated by the fact that there is so little to go on and of course none of us are familiar with the Lebanese legal system.”

“People forget that Tara, Stephen, Ben and Tangles were there doing a job; covering a story. As it turns out, a very important story. It’s what they do. It’s what they have been doing brilliantly for years. Obviously, this time, something went wrong. But if we have one message, it’s that people who have been so quick to judge should at least wait until all the facts are known. We haven’t spoken to our partners since before they were arrested. Very few facts are clear at this stage. If we don’t have all the facts, how can anyone else?”

Share your comments below.

Read previous updates here…

Image via 3AW

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  • Pfft he should have held them against the custody decision that went against him!


  • I do not think you would be “shot” maybe by our media that likes to blow things out of proportion.
    This story still doesnt add up, i guess we will never know hte whole truth


  • I have heard of this news story. I haven’t noticed how these children first came to be overseas with their dad tho, did he ‘kidnap’ them to get them there? Or did they live there in the first place? If it’s the first scenario, I feel for the mum, losing her children to a country so far from home. And I fully understand, maybe not agree, why she would act so desperately. But if this country is their home…….what is she thinking?!?!

    • Apparently the kids went to Lebanon for a holiday with the father, but he never brought them back to Australia where they were living with their mother.


  • What happened is indeed helping the father of the kids. It’s in his rights to not drop charges. And if there wasn’t really any custody agreement before, I expect that nothing good is coming out of this. I’m very sorry though! :-(


  • I agree, we do not know all the facts. But as has been stated multiple times is that there was no finalised custody arrangement in place, when the father took his children to Lebanon he was not kidnapping them. He was fully within his parental rights. From reports he has then taken legal steps while there, which makes the news crew being involved in ‘helping’ to return these children to Australia with their mother aiding and abetting kidnapping. I applaud the judge who told them both to go into mediation for a custody arrangement and hope that their judicial system enforces this. It would be interesting to have the full story.


  • I think the estranged husband has got her exactly where he wants her. I dont think he will negotiate a new custody arrangement,he is obviously comfortable with all that is happening, as there has been no decision. Its such a shame that australian authorities didn’t do something when he first took the kids out of australia, now it looks like there is going to be a long drawn out saga which now includes many unfortunate families suffering when there is no need for them to be in this situation.


  • Very true. We don’t know the full story at all.I feel sad for everyone involved


  • There are no winners in this matter. Even the father who thinks he’s in the winner’s seat will one day pay the price for keeping the children away from their mother.

    • I agree, certainly no-one wins in this situation. All that has happened is that children will grow up with out close contact with their mother and eventually, they will find out all of this. I feel sorry for these children most of all.


  • True we don’t know the full story but we do know that this shows and others like it are renowned for sensationalising issues and stories and showing little regard for the people whose lives they impact.


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