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Her story: The mum at the centre of the failed Lebanon abduction speaks out

I wish I fought harder but kicking and screaming wouldn't have done anything except made things worse.

Everyone seems to have a view on Sally Faulkner, the Brisbane mum at the centre of the failed 60 Minutes child abduction attempt in Lebanon. The whole exercise, which landed her in jail as well as the Channel 9 crew and the kidnap team, has been heavily criticised across the board.
But Sally is a mum whose children have been taken from her by their father, her former husband, Ali Elamine, and they’re being raised in another country and she has no access to them. The mum of Lahela, 6, and Noah, 3, never sees her children. Since the failed attempt in April, Sally has had no contact with her babies.
Tonight the heartbroken mum tells her story on the ABC’s Australian story. And as the promotional spin supporting tonight’s show says: “Sally still faces kidnapping charges in the Lebanese courts. Harder still has been facing the court of public opinion. Some have been appalled she would rush into a dangerous and foolhardy mission that roundly disrespected Lebanese law.”
Sally, Lahela and Noah. PHOTO: Facebook
Sally is revealing new details on her botched child recovery attempt, and also an insightful back story which alleges that he had taken her eldest from her before, as well as what she did to upset him so much.
On the program, Sally breaks down while telling the story of how she was forced to leave Lebanon without Lahela, when her eldest daughter was just 10 months old.
“We went to hop in the car and we had Lahela’s things all packed up and Ali said to me, ‘Give Lahela to my mum, she wants a cuddle,’” Sally says.
“I handed her over; she took her and walked into the house. And my eyes just widened, my heart just started beating faster, I said, ‘What’s going on?’ And he said, ‘Lahela’s staying here’
“I said, no she was only 10 months old, nearly 11. We drove back for two hours and there was not really a word said but I cried.”
She admits that even after that she trusted him and went on to have their second child, son Noah. “I’m too trusting, I’m stupid, he’s done this before.”
And how she should have tried harder to stop all this from happening: “I wish I fought harder but kicking and screaming wouldn't have done anything except made things worse.”
Before the kidnap attempt went horribly wrong she, “genuinely felt like I was doing the right thing.”
“Maybe people believe I did the wrong thing by going over there and trying to recover my children, but I was driven by love and desperation.”
The ABC’s Australian Story team talks to Sally, her family and her friends about what happened in Lebanon and what led up to all of this.
Watch part one "When Plans Change" on Australian Story on ABC TV at 8pm.

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