Presenter Tara Brown, her 60 Minutes crew, and Brisbane mother Sally Faulkner were released from jail in Lebanon after Channel Nine bought their freedom for AU$1 million.
The group boarded the flight back to Australia hours after they were released from custody from the Beirut jail where they were held on kidnapping charges. Some of the crew members were in tears as they were being transported to the airport from the jail in a van.
“I had a chance to say “hi” to [husband] John. I was ordered to call home straight away. But [I have] not [talked to] the kids yet,” the Mail Online quoted Brown as saying. “I can’t wait to speak to them obviously though they have no idea about any of this. It’s great to talk to home. It’s great to be going home.”
Ali Elamine, Faulkner’s estranged husband, dropped the charges against the 60 minutes crew and Faulkner overnight following a deal. Faulkner purportedly gave up the custody of her children as a part of the deal.
The Fairfax Media reported that Channel Nine reporter Tom Steinfort interviewed Faulkner and the 60 Minutes crew which comprises of Brown, cameraman Ben Williamson, sound recordist David Ballment, and producer Stephen Rice inside the van. The crew members got a chance to speak to their loved ones in Australia after two weeks.
Faulkner said that she was glad that she is finally out of the prison.
“I mean, they treated us well. We can’t complain about that. But it’s just the uncertainty that sort of kept me awake at night, not knowing if it was going to be a life-long sentence or what. Yeah, it was no joke,” she said.
However, the British child recovery agents Adam Whittington and Craig Michael remained in jail over the mishandled attempt to take the two children from their Lebanese father. The agency alleged that rivals passed on confidential information about the operation to the authorities that led to the arrests, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.