A 60 Minutes crew, including reporter Tara Brown, will face kidnapping charges in Lebanon after appearing in court in Beirut.
Brown, senior producer Stephen Rice, cameraman Ben Williamson and sound recordist David Ballment are facing four separate charges, including kidnapping, causing harm and not respecting local authority.
Also appearing in court were Brisbane mother Sally Faulkner and men from British-based Child Abduction Recovery International, including former Scotland Yard detective Adam Whittington. Brown was handcuffed and held by a female military guard.
All appeared individually and before Judge Rami Abdullah, and asked if they wanted legal representation. All declared they wanted a lawyer.
Sally Faulkner spent longer with the judge before emerging red-faced and teary. It’s not clear if she is facing charges.
The Australians are expected to defend the charges in coming days.
Lebanese authorities have also claimed to be in possession of footage of the botched kidnapping, which shows the face of a Channel Nine cameraman -but this is unconfirmed.
Passport images for the Nine crew have now been circulated and published online.
Nine released a brief statement confirming the charges but without further comment.
The crew are said to be in good health and are likely to be granted bail. Nine News boss Darren Wick is on the ground, working with a legal team.
Yesterday Nine advised it was in Lebanon to film Ms. Faulkner after she was reunited with her children. It urged caution in reporting and indicated it was co-operating fully with Lebanese authorities.
There are suggestions Nine has also launched an internal inquiry into the involvement of 60 Minutes in the ordeal.
“Australian consular staff in Beirut are continuing to provide ongoing consular assistance,” a DFAT spokesperson said.
“The Foreign Minister has maintained discussions with her counterpart minister [Gebran] Bassil regarding this case”.
Kidnapping charges carry sentences between three years and life.