Australian mother arrested in Tripoli on adultery charges slips free and is found back down under
An Australian mother of two who claimed she was trapped in Lebanon facing adultery charges raised by her husband managed to slip through the legal net which entangled her in Tripoli and surprised everyone by showing up at an Australian court.
Mahassen Issa, 29, said she was charged with adultery in July after she flew to Lebanon to visit her new partner, Mohammed Awick.
The charges were allegedly triggered when her husband and the father of her two children, Bassem Abou Lokmeh, registered their Australian marriage in Lebanon a fortnight earlier.
The young Australian woman managed to evade six months in a Lebanese jail for adultery after she went on holiday to Tripoli with her new husband after posting photos of the couple in wedding attire on Facebook – enraging her family in Australia as she had not completed her divorce to her previous husband there, who has subsequently taken custody of both their children.
But Ms Issa appeared at Local Court in Bankstown today over restraining order application she had taken out against her estranged husband since her return.
Outside the court, Ms Issa would not comment on how, or when, she had managed to return to Australia, although many in Lebanon will undoubtedly reach the conclusion that corruption had some role to play, given the wall of silence from Government ministries here when asked by An Nahar and the louche circumstances of her ‘escape’ from charges in conservative Tripoli.
She told local media she cannot speak about how she left Lebanon having signed a deal to give an exclusive interview to a commercial network current affairs program.
It’s hard to believe a great deal of what Issa claims, starting with the somewhat preposterous story that she met her present husband while on holiday in Tripoli in July of this year.
The judge in Australia also found her claims that her ex husband had threatened her via sms messages groundless and dismissed her case.
In July, the family of Issa, who is reported to be charged with adultery in Lebanon, said pictures of her wedding to a man she had only known for two days, proved she was a bigamist.
Issa said she travelled to Lebanon on June 20 when she met her then boyfriend Mohammad Awick, after separating from her husband in Australia. According to reports in the Daily Mail, Ms Issa was expected to return to Sydney in mid July but said she was contacted by Lebanese police and told she had been charged with adultery, which is a criminal offence in Lebanon and carried a six-month prison sentence.
Exhaustive attempts by An-Nahar English were made to contact authorities here in Beirut, but to no avail.
Consequently, we still cannot confirm whether she has actually been charged by Lebanon police or that they were intending to process a charge at some point as it is believed she was staying in Lebanon afraid of being intercepted by airport officials – both in Beirut and in Australia, following reports that she was contacted by authorities there who told her of her impending arrest warrant.
Ms Issa’s relative said the family had warned Ms Issa about marrying Mr Awick after her ex-husband registered their marriage in Lebanon prior to her arriving – suggesting that Issa met her Tripoli boyfriend on line and decided to travel to Lebanon to meet him in person.
‘We tried to put a stop to it but she decided to proceed with her marriage in Lebanon…now it has backfired on her,’ the relative told Daily Mail Australia.
‘She’s not going to jail because of adultery, she’s going to jail because she got married while she was still married.
‘That’s illegal everywhere, not just in Lebanon. All she’s doing is crying out for Australia to help her.’
She protests her innocence, saying she and her estranged husband were in the middle of divorce proceedings in Australia.
‘I came to Lebanon because I was going through a very messy divorce, I met my partner, we fell in love,’ she told 9News.
‘I haven’t broken any laws and I’m a victim of a jealous spouse’s revenge plot.’
Ms Issa said she and her husband separated last September and that she and her new partner have not done anything wrong although her former family members are hoping that she will endure a jail sentence. A relative of Ms Issa’s husband told The Daily Telegraph that he was the one who informed Lebanese authorities on Ms Issa. He also said that the respected families of Ms Issa and her husband hoped she received a jail sentence and were ‘very happy that she’s getting charged and she’s getting what she deserves’.
Her former husband also denies that they had been separated since September of last year, saying that in fact it wasn’t until just recently in April that the separation began.
It is still not reported yet in Australia whether she will face, or has already, been charged with bigomy.