Duchess 'asked to attend court'

Bournemouth Echo: The Duchess of York is being tried in absentia in Turkey over undercover filming in an orphanage (AP) The Duchess of York is being tried in absentia in Turkey over undercover filming in an orphanage (AP)

The Duchess of York has reportedly been asked to attend court in Turkey, where she is accused of taking part in the secret filming of two orphanages.

Sarah Ferguson faces charges of going "against the law in acquiring footage and violating privacy" of five children at one of the orphanages, the country's state-run news agency said.

If convicted, she could receive a maximum sentence of 22 years and six months in prison.

The trial began in her absence yesterday with a procedural hearing but has been adjourned so the plaintiffs can consider a proposed out-of-court settlement.

The court said Sarah should attend the next hearing, Anadolu Agency reported.

But her spokesman said he did not think she had any plans to go at this stage, and the next hearing may not happen before the autumn.

As the crime of which she stands accused is not a crime in the UK, she cannot be extradited, it is understood.

The duchess 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 two journalists were being separately investigated.

The government has accused Sarah of smearing Turkey's image, while saying at the same time that it would investigate and address any problems at the orphanages.

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