Duchess of York faces charges in Turkey

Jan. 13, 2012 at 1:11 AM
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LONDON, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- The Duchess of York, the former wife of Prince Andrew of Britain, faces criminal charges in Turkey, a prosecutor said Thursday.

The charges stem from the duchess' work three years ago with a crew from the British network ITV that secretly filmed conditions inside a Turkish orphanage, The Daily Telegraph reported. The office of the chief prosecutor charges she violated the privacy of disabled children at the orphanage in Saray near Ankara.

Turkey has requested "mutual legal assistance" on the case, the British Home Office confirmed Thursday. British officials have not said whether the government will cooperate.

The duchess, the former Sarah Ferguson, has been the subject of scandal in Britain. A newspaper recently caught her in a sting operation agreeing to sell access to her ex-husband.

In theory, she could receive a sentence of as much as 22 years in Turkey. But extradition appears unlikely, sources told the Telegraph.

A spokesman, James Henderson, said Turkish authorities have not attempted to get in touch with the duchess.

"It's important to stress that the duchess was on a humanitarian trip at the time, and that it was ITV who made the program, not her," he said. "I am not aware of what jurisdiction the Turkish authorities have over the duchess. At the time, the British government was asked if it would get involved and they refused."

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