Commentary on Botched 60 Minutes Child Rescue Also Says Alot About Abusive, and Alienating Parents.
Amy Stockwell’s commentary offers background information about the non-custodial kidnapping of the el-Amien children and offers deeper insight into parents who use children as a pawn in custody disputes.
“But here’s the thing: Even if you disagree with your ex-partner about how to raise your kids, you don’t get to steal them.
You don’t get to arrange an access visit and keep them.
You do not get to use the misogynistic laws of another country to get around the fact that you’re not entitled to permanent custody of your children.
You do not get to keep your ex-partner in prison in order to get the child custody you want.
You do not own your kids…”
Commentary written by Amy Stockwell: 60 Minutes: Ali el-Amine now has everything he wants. Because this case was all about him.
Abusive and alienating parents will lie, manipulate, triangulate and create havoc because their feelings of entitlement or feelings of being right are placed higher than the well-being of their own children.
Children should NOT be used as a pawn, or as a weapon, to wield against a former partner or to be used to further one parent’s agenda or interests.
BACKGROUND: MOTHER SALLY FAULKNER ATTEMPTS TO RESCUE KIDNAPPED CHILDREN IN LEBANON
April 2016: Australian mother, Sally Faulkner, was given sole custody of her two children (6 year old Lahela and 3 year old Noah) by an Australian court. Their Lebanese-born father, Ali el-Amien, took the children to a holiday in his home country and never returned – that is kidnapping. However, Lebanon is not a signatory to The Hague Convention, so it does not have to enforce or acknowledge the Court’s orders to return the children to Australia.
Ali el-Amien took the children because he was jealous that Faulkner had moved on from their relationship, and was dating another man.
In a desperate attempt to get her children back, Faulkner and a four-member crew from 60 Minutes went to Beirut to attempt to rescue the children, and were arrested in the process. They faced up to a 20 year sentence in jail.
Ali el-Amien’s family has strong political connections in Lebanon’s parliament, and was given custody of the children by a religious court.
After being detained, a deal was struck where no criminal charges would be filed if Faulkner were to relinquish custody of the children, and co-operate in obtaining a religious divorce from el-Amien. The deal was struck after a closed-doors meeting between lawyers representing the parties and the judge.
Faulkner was pregnant at the time, likely agreed to the deal in order to save her unborn child.
“Everybody is happy,” said Nine Network lawyer, Kamal Aboudaher. It is hard to imagine a mother being “happy” to lose custody of her children who will be raised in another country by the father who kidnapped them, and now has total control over both the children and is restricting her access to them.
Channel Nine will also pay a financial settlement, of an undisclosed amount, as a settlement to el-Amien to drop his civil claim. News Corp reports the settlement may be as high as several million dollars. el-Amien says he did not receive financial compensation, and he may be willing to allow a visit between the children and their mother at some time in the future; however he will not allow the children to return to Australia because he is afraid they will not come home (the custody order would be enforced).
Faulkner’s legal rights in Australia mean nothing in Lebanon. Faulkner’s Lebanese lawyer Ghassan Moghabghab said El-Amien will get everything he wants because he has the legal rights in Lebanon.
The Lebanese men involved in the rescue and British national Adam Whittington, from the Child Abduction Recovery International, are still being detained in Lebanon. Adam Whittington says he is being treated unfairly, and has been left behind the news agency that should have worked to secure his release.
A support page has been set up for Adam Whittington: Support Adam Whittington #bringskippyhome
Faulkner was allowed a short visit with her children before leaving Lebanon. Her daughter gave her mother a Barbie ring “so you won’t forget me”. Faulkner reports that she is overwhelmed with grief due to the loss of her children, and has not had any contact with them.
Ali el-Amien admitted that the children ask to return to their mother.