Aus TV crew detained in Lebanon over 'child recovery'

Man pushing a pram across a park Image copyright PA
Image caption International custody battles are increasingly frequent

An Australian TV crew has been detained in Lebanon while filming a story about an alleged abduction of two Australian children by their father.

The crew, from news show 60 Minutes, was reporting on an alleged attempt by the mother to recover the two children.

Channel 9 said reporter Tara Brown, her producer and two camera operators had been detained in the capital, Beirut.

The mother, an Australian, was detained shortly after and the children returned to their father, local media reported.

Lebanese Interior Minister Nuhad Mashnuq told journalists: "It seems that the crew is involved in the kidnapping."

A spokesman for Channel 9 told the Sydney Morning Herald that the crew were "witnessing and observing what was a risky operation" and that they "were obviously part of that".

The Australian embassy is in contact with the crew, the spokesman said, but the channel was not.

Image caption Child recovery agencies are extremely controversial

Grainy video appearing to show two men snatching two children from two older women on a Beirut street, and racing away in a car, has been aired by local TV.

Local media reports said the women were the nanny and paternal grandmother of the children, and the men were associated with a "child recovery agency" hired by the children's mother.

The mother, Sally Faulkner, claims the two children were being kept in Lebanon against her will after they visited for a holiday last year.

Police later detained the men who allegedly seized the children and the TV crew led by 60 Minutes' reporter Tara Brown.

The mother reportedly fled with the children to another location but Lebanese media said later that she was being detained by police and the children were with their father.

Unconfirmed reports say that the vehicle used, and a yacht which may have been intended to whisk the children out of the country, have been impounded by police.

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