“Everyone keeps on saying I got compensated, and I’m really hoping I get something.”
That’s what the father at the centre of the 60 Minutes child “rescue” SNAFU said to Kyle and Jackie O this morning.
He really wants something out of this whole drama.
But here’s the thing: Ali el-Amine already has something out of this ordeal. He’s actually got everything that he wanted.
He has his kids.
He has taken his children to a country where women struggle to get custody of their children. That same country has not signed the Hague Convention that provides a mechanism for abducted children to be returned to their “country of habitual residence” (which in this case, would also be their birth country, Australia).
El-Amine runs a successful surfing school in Lebanon. His family is reportedly well-connected in the Hezbollah-controlled Beirut suburb of Hadath (his mother is reported to be the cousin of the speaker of the Lebanon Parliament). His family is also reportedly very wealthy. Money, he does not need. But his children? That’s what he wanted.
What does Sally Faulkner have?
She doesn’t have access to her children. For the last two weeks, she didn’t even have her freedom.
All she has is an Australian Family Court order granting her full custody of her children. And, her lawyer says, she has a document signed by Ali el-Amine that says he will consult with her on deciding where their children will live.
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There is a lot that is contested between the pair, as there is in every relationship breakdown.
But the upshot is this: Sally Faulkner had custody of her children in Australia. Almost a full year ago, Ali el-Amine hosted the children on holiday in his home country of Lebanon. Those children were not returned to Australia.