No Ferguson extradition over Turkey film: UK source

Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:43am EST
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By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) - There is no prospect of Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, being extradited to Turkey to face criminal charges over her undercover reporting for a TV documentary on Turkish orphanages, a British interior ministry source said on Friday.

Turkey sought Ferguson's extradition after a Turkish court accused her of "breaking the law in acquiring footage and violating the privacy of five children" while making the documentary in 2008, Turkey's Anatolian news agency said.

The charges carry a maximum jail term of 22 years six months.

Ferguson, the former wife of Queen Elizabeth's second son Prince Andrew, posed as a potential charitable donor to visit state orphanages in Turkey and Romania, followed by hidden cameras, to highlight poor conditions at rehabilitation centers for mentally handicapped children.

The documentary, made by British channel ITV's "Tonight" program, reported cases of children being tied to beds and disabled children being neglected by overworked staff.

Ferguson later apologized for any embarrassment the documentary might have caused Turkey.

Britain's Home Office (interior ministry) said in a statement "The Home Office can confirm it has received a formal request for mutual legal assistance concerning Sarah, Duchess of York. It is not appropriate to comment further."

A ministry source said there was no question of the Duchess being extradited to Turkey. "It has to be an offence in both the countries' laws. It's not an offence in UK law so the duchess won't be extradited," the source told Reuters.   Continued...

<p>Sarah Ferguson, Britain's Duchess of York, arrives at a benefit for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in New York October 26, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>