The father at the centre of the 60 Minutes child abduction bungle has demanded US$500,000 (AU$670,000) for the release of a former Australian soldier and three men who orchestrated the botched plan.
Adam Whittington’s Gold Coast family has called on Channel Nine to front up the cash so Ali Elamine will drop the kidnapping charges against him and his colleagues who were hired by the father’s former Brisbane partner Sally Faulkner, The Australian reported.
The four men have been behind bars in Lebanon since April 6 after they snatched Mr Elamine’s two children off a busy Beirut street from their grandmother who was walking them to school.
The father at the centre of the 60 Minutes child abduction bungle, Ali Elamine (pictured), has demanded US$500,000 for the release of a former Australian soldier and three men who orchestrated the botched plan
Adam Whittington’s (pictured) Gold Coast family has called on Channel Nine to front up the cash so Ali Elamine will drop the kidnapping charges against him and his colleagues
Mr Whittington’s pensioner mother, Georgina, said the family did not have US$500,000 to secure her son’s release and called on Channel Nine to help as lawyers for the Australian and Mr Elamine are close to striking a deal if they agree to pay up.
‘Please, please, Channel Nine help us. Bring Adam home. It was their fault, it went wrong. They can’t just put the blame on Adam,’ Ms Whittington told The Australian.
‘I feel it is [Nine’s] responsibility.’
If the money is paid, it could see the release of dual Australian-British citizen Mr Whittington, Briton Craig Michael, and locals Khaled Barbour and Mohammed Hamza on bail.
This news comes just days after it was revealed Ms Faulkner had been blocked from having any contact with her children who remain in Lebanon.
Ms Faulkner was forced to return to Brisbane following the botched kidnapping attempt.
Mr Elamine’s ex-partner Sally Faulkner spent two weeks in the Lebanese prison alongside Tara Brown (above) and the 60 Minutes crew after the kidnapping attempt before she was released
Mr Whittington and his colleagues were hired by Ms Faulkner. She is pictured after her release from a Beirut prison
A family source said Mr Elamine, 32, was not letting her contact her five-year-old daughter, Lahela, or her three-year-old son, Noah.
‘No Skype, no photos, blocked on Whatsapp … and [Mr Elamine] is not answering phone calls from her,’ the source said.
Ms Faulkner spent two weeks in the Lebanese prison alongside Tara Brown and the 60 Minutes crew after the kidnapping attempt before she was released.
In exchange for the charges against her being dropped Ms Faulkner was forced to sign over the custodial rights of their children.
At the time, Mr Elamine insisted Ms Faulkner would be allowed to visit her children in Lebanon.
He recently uploaded a photo to Facebook showing the children smiling as they eat lunch with their father.
This news comes just days after it was revealed Ms Faulkner had been blocked from having any contact with her children who remain in Lebanon
Following Brown and her team’s release, 60 Minutes presenter Michael Usher admitted the team had made mistakes and confirmed an internal investigation is underway.
‘There’s one thing we want to state very clearly from the outset: we made mistakes,’ Usher said.
He said the ‘mistakes and failures’ had been ‘the subject of a lot of soul searching here at Channel Nine’.
Usher said the chain of events were ‘complex and distressing’ which had gone ‘badly wrong’.
Ms Brown and her crew, producer Stephen Rice, cameraman Ben Williamson and sound recordist David Ballment could still face further charges even though they have returned to Australia.