After 10 months spent longing to be near her kids, Sally Faulkner spent one night with them in Beirut before they were returned to their father.
The Australian mother who flew to Lebanon in an ill-fated attempt to retrieve her two children slept with them in her arms the night after the botched “rescue” operation for which she is now facing kidnapping charges.
“She had one night with her babies, I don’t know what time they came for her,” a close friend who spoke with Faulkner that night told Fairfax anonymously.
She said Lahela, 6, and Noah, 4, had been waiting for their mum to come for them and told her they wanted to go home.
Lahela, 6, and Noah, 4. Image: Facebook
"Lahela had told her that she was waiting for her to come and Noah couldn't understand why they couldn't leave straight away for Australia and why they had to wait in this house," the friend said.
"I was talking to her till 12.30 am and she said that she was sleeping on the floor."
Mamamia's Editor-in-Chief Kate De Brito, Podcast Director Monique Bowley and Publisher Mia Freedman discuss the story on this week's podcast:
The friend explained Faulkner had been holding out for the Australian Embassy to open early in the next day, but police raided the house where she was hiding before she made it. She was then taken into custody, once again separated from her kids.
She, along with the men paid to carry out the failed abduction and the 60 Minutes crew allegedly there to film it, are now facing uncertain futures in the Lebanese justice system.
The thing is, when Faulkner arrived in Lebanon she allegedly did so armed with an Australian court order to give her full custody. To resolve the matter quickly, she could have to accept the children continuing to live in Lebanon.
Sally sent a video request to Julie Bishop last year asking her to bring her children home:
When the couple first separated, friends say they did so amicably and Amin would travel to Australia periodically to visit the kids.
After one such visit, he asked to take them back to Lebanon for a holiday. Soon after he got there, however, he called to say they would be staying.
According to the same friend who spoke with Fairfax, just six weeks later he had cut off contact altogether-- Faulkner wasn't even allowed to speak with them on their birthdays.
"She kept trying to call but he wouldn't answer," the friend said.
"She said I don't want this to be my life for the next 18 years. She was looking at never seeing her babies again.
"She was the sweetest nurturing mother. She had such a lovely rapport with them, they were just lovely, lovely adorable children."
For his part, Amin has said repeatedly he won't be pressing charges the mother of his children, but that certainly doesn't mean he'll be relinquishing custody.
"I told her that I’m not going to file anything," he told the Guardian.
"I saw her and I was thinking, 'oh what did you do, what were you thinking?' I wasn't angry, I was disappointed. You could have just showed up and said you wanted to see the kids. She knows that. But then again, she is a mother."