’60 Minutes’ new child abduction drama: News program also involved in ongoing kidnapping case

By @chelean on
Australian 60 Minutes journalist Tara Brown (C) and 60 Minutes producer Stephen Rice arrive at Sydney International Airport, April 21, 2016.
Australian 60 Minutes journalist Tara Brown (C) and 60 Minutes producer Stephen Rice arrive at Sydney International Airport, April 21, 2016. Reuters/Dean Lewins/AAP

“60 Minutes” is involved in another “child recovery” drama. The controversial Nine Network newsmagazine also took part in a similar operation involving an Australian mother and the recovery of her child in 2014.

The 2014 story featured a mother and her child successfully fleeing the father in Turkey. Reporter Liz Hayes was assigned to cover the story, which has never been put to air.

The Australian mother lived in Turkey with her husband, whom she had since split from. The husband then cancelled their son’s travel papers, refusing to allow the child to return to Australia, reports news.com.au.

Despite the lack of paperwork, she was able to take her child to Greece on a speedboat. It is now the subject of a Family Court proceedings in Australia after the father launched the case, alleging the mother breached Turkish court rulings and kidnapped their child from him.

Hayes and the “60 Minutes” crew apparently documented the case as it happened from Turkey to Greece. The mother then travelled to Australia, with the father also returning to the country to launch court action.

The father said he did not know whether “60 Minutes” was involved in the abduction case. He told Fairfax Media, though, that he was surprised his wife had meticulously planned and had money to finance the abduction. He reported his wife to the police in the Turkish region of Bodrum, but the police informed him they couldn’t do anything. He then followed his wife and son to the Greek Island of Kos, where he found out that they already left for Australia.

Turkey is a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which requires countries to respect court custody orders. And as such, the father expected the case to be concluded in a matter of weeks. However, it has been dragging on for over a year already, though the father said he was allowed access to see his child four days a week.

Although the case is similar to the recent “60 Minutes” story, a Nine spokesperson said the two are not comparable. The recent case involved reporter Tara Brown and four members of the news crew with Australian mother Sally Faulkner, who were all jailed in Lebanon and have since been released after a failed child recovery operation.

“It’s a completely different situation. There’s nothing similar,” a Nine rep told news.com.au. “The matter is before the Family Court and therefore the story isn’t happening and may not happen.”

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