Face of the day

Father Ali Elamine leaves court. Photo / Getty Images
Father Ali Elamine leaves court. Photo / Getty Images

Father Ali Elamine was one step ahead of the would-be abductors at every stage of the operation thanks to a secret network across Beirut.

From the moment Tara Brown, her crew and his estranged wife Sally Faulkner stepped off the plane, it’s believed he knew their movements.

He had been reading his spouse’s emails about the planned abduction on her iPad, and had cut off communication to prevent her from tracking him and the children.

He had hacked her private correspondence after refusing to return the children to Australia after she had sent them to him for a holiday? What a Prince among men; what a delightful specimen of humanity. Knowing how desperate she would be to get her children back he spied on her illegally, just like he took the children illegally.

When the desperate Brisbane mother arrived in Lebanon, surf school owner Mr Elamine was ready.

The Lebanese-American was rapidly tipped off about her arrival by associates, according to Fairfax Media. In the two days leading up to the botched abduction, a suspicious car was spotted trailing three-year-old When Ms Faulkner’s hired recovery agents grabbed the kids off the street on April 7 in the Hadath district – a Hezbollah stronghold – Mr Elamine was inundated with phone calls from the tight-knit southern Beirut Shiite community.

That’s when the 32-year-old phoned his estranged wife to check the children were safe, and police used the call to trace and arrest the mother, the agents and the 60 Minutes crew.

The bail hearing was postponed on Monday while lawyers for the different parties try to reach a deal, and Mr Elamine appears to hold the key to the Channel Nine crew’s freedom in his hands.

Lebanese-American has conveyed mixed messages about how he will use that power, with his lawyer telling journalists he was “in no hurry” to reach an agreement.

Earlier this week, Mr Elamine told News Corp journalists “Channel Nine dropped the ball” and he was inclined to “charge everyone involved”, because “if Sally goes out on bail, they all get out”.

He has insisted he was not interested in money, but Ms Faulkner’s lawyer Ghassan Moghabghab told News Corp: “Everything Ali is doing leads to one conclusion, that he is aiming for money.”

Mr Moghabghab revealed that Mr Elamine had said $250,000 or $350,000 meant nothing to him when it came to his children – suggesting any payout would have to be higher.

The Australian’s Jacquelin Magnay told 2UE radio the well-off Elamine family were likely to want a “big public apology” and “an enormous amount of compensation to repair their respectability“.

Since he abducted the children in the first place I am amazed that he considers he had any respectability in the first place. To blackmail his ex-wife into giving up custody of the children and making a huge financial payment in order to escape jail, Mr Elamine has revealed himself to be a man with no principles and utterly ruthless.

Mr Elamine may have something of an axe to grind. He told The Australian he had been portrayed in a bad light by the Australian media, with A Current Affair wrongly portraying him as an Islamic State fighter when covering Ms Faulkner’s story.

He told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell that he would not have been shown any compassion if things were the other way around.

“If the tables were turned and I had shown up in Australia and tried to kidnap someone, I probably would have been shot and called a terrorist,” he said.

Australia is the country that allowed him legal access to his children and allowed them to visit him in Lebanon. Lebanon on the other hand does not even recognise his wife’s legal custody of the children and allowed him to steal them. The only country that lacks compassion is Lebanon.

– news.com.au

 


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