September 30, 2023

Turkish court charges Sarah Ferguson on orphanages

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ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A Turkish court has pressed charges against Britain’s Duchess of York for secretly filming orphanages in Turkey.

The court on Thursday accused Ferguson in absentia of going “against the law in acquiring footage and violating privacy” of five children. She faces a maximum term of 22 1/2 years in prison if convicted. No trial date has been set.

Ferguson, the former wife of Britain’s Prince Andrew, made an undercover trip to Turkey in 2008 to examine orphanages for a British television program. Secretly filmed images that were broadcast appeared to show children tied to their beds or left in cribs at an orphanage near the capital of Ankara.

In the documentary Duchess and Daughters: Their Secret Mission, Fergie visited the country with her daughter Princess Eugenie in an undercover mission for ITV Tonight to examine the plight of orphans.

Disguised in a wig and headscarf she went to an institution near the capital Ankara and filmed images of children tied to their beds or left in cots.

At the time, the Turkish government accused her of being involved in a “smudge campaign” when Turkey was trying to get membership of the European Union.

But flame-haired Fergie, who also filmed orphanages in Romania with daughter Princess Beatrice for the programme, said she was “apolitical”.

It is not clear why it took more than three years to file charges against Ferguson.

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