Australian journalist Tara Brown and her “60 Minutes” crew were detained Wednesday night in Beirut, Lebanon's capital city, while they were filming a story about the recovery of two Australian children who were taken there by their Lebanese father. Channel 9, the network that airs “60 Minutes,” reportedly said it was working with authorities to bring the crew back home.
The detainees include Brown, “60 Minutes” producer Stephen Rice, cameraman Richard Malone and sound operator David Ballment, the Daily Mail reported. The crew was detained after they successfully rescued two children — Lahala, 5, and Noah, 2 — from their father, Ali Elamine, with the intention of returning them to their mother, Sally Faulkner, in Brisbane.
Brown and the crew were tracked down by Beirut police and detained for questioning, according to Fairfax news. After the crew was detained, local media reports said that gunmen had abducted two Australian children from a bus stop early Wednesday. It was, however, not clear if the children were Lahala and Noah. An anonymous security source told the Daily Star that Faulkner is allegedly involved in the incident, and that her ex-husband had been granted custody of the children.
Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop said Wednesday that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) was seeking information on the incident.
"I confirm that DFAT has been in contact with Channel 9 with regard to reports that an Australian TV crew has been detained in Lebanon," Bishop reportedly said. "We are urgently seeking to confirm the crew’s whereabouts and welfare, and have offered all appropriate consular assistance.”