A court in Turkey has brought charges against the Duchess of York over a controversial ITV documentary in which she went undercover to secretly film orphanages in Ankara and Istanbul.Source: The Guardian
The court accused Sarah Ferguson in her absence of going "against the law in acquiring footage and violating privacy" of five children. The charges carry a maximum jail term of more than 22 years if a conviction results.
Ferguson wore a disguise to visit the homes with her daughter Princess Eugenie for the special edition of ITV's Tonight current affairs show, which was broadcast in November 2008.
The film, which prompted a major diplomatic row with the Turkish government, featured footage of children dressed in bedclothes and rags, some of them with shaven heads and tied to beds or left in their cots all day.
Turkish politicians accused the programme-makers of a smear campaign aimed at derailing the country's attempts to join the European Union.
Ferguson, who also covertly filmed in orphanages in Romania, accompanied by her other daughter, Beatrice, said at the time of the broadcast that she was "apolitical" and was "happy with courage to stand by the film".
ITV declined to comment and is understood not to have been contacted by the Turkish authorities.
The broadcaster previously described the programme as a "valid area of public interest at a time when the UK government is endorsing the accession of Turkey into the EU, a process which is conditional in part on Turkey improving its human rights record with children".
It was unclear why Turkish authorities waited more than three years to raise the charges.
Ferguson did not declare her royal status during the film, in which she was known only as Sarah, with the footage filmed by members of her entourage posing as potential wealthy donors. The Tonight special was watched by 2.4 million viewers.