Sunday 22 April 2018

Sarah Ferguson seeks out of court settlement

SELCAN HACAOGLU in Istanbul

THE trial of Britain's Duchess of York for allegedly taking part in the secret filming of two orphanages in Turkey has been adjourned so the plaintiffs can evaluate a proposed out-of-court settlement, Turkey's state-run news agency has said.

Sarah Ferguson faces charges of going "against the law in acquiring footage and violating [the] privacy" of five children at one of the orphanages, the Anadolu Agency said. If convicted, she could receive a maximum sentence of 22- and-a-half years in prison.

Ms Ferguson did not attend the opening of the trial on Friday. The former wife of Britain's Prince Andrew allegedly made an undercover trip to Turkey in 2008, during which she secretly visited the two state-run orphanages along with two British TV journalists. An indictment filed against her in January said the journalists are being separately investigated.

The footage of the children was filmed at the Saray Rehabilitation and Care Centre orphanage, near Ankara, on September 22, 2008, and was shown that year on the British ITV show Duchess and Daughters: Their Secret Mission. The filmed images appeared to show the children tied to their beds or left in cribs.

The news agency quoted her lawyer, Cansu Sahin, as saying the duchess is seeking an out-of-court settlement. On Friday, the court said that Ms Ferguson should attend the next hearing.

The court agreed to hear testimony from the five children who were filmed, but the lawyer representing them said some are mentally retarded and others are handicapped, and that it would have been better if their testimony was taken at the orphanage.

Anadolu did not say when the trial would resume.

One reason the case has angered Turkey's government is that it emerged during its effort to become a member of the EU, despite opposition from some EU states about issues such as human rights.

Sunday Independent

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