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WTF: Turkey and Sarah, Duchess of York

Illustration for article titled WTF: Turkey and Sarah, Duchess of York

As I'm sure was the case with a lot of people, the story about Prince Andrew's trouble in the garden made me think of Koo Stark and Sarah Ferguson (not necessarily in that order), which caused me to wonder whether Sarah and Andrew are still sharing a house. (It isn't clear and part of the confusion could come from how one defines where a person lives)


In my quest to learn her current housing arrangements, I pulled-up Fergie's Wikipedia entry and found the following WTF?

On 13 January 2012, the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Turkey issued an international arrest warrant for her. She had travelled to Turkey in 2008, and covertly filmed a Turkish State Orphanage. The Turkish authorities alleged that the Duchess made a false declaration when entering the country (in relation to her motives for visiting Turkey), trespassed into a Turkish Government institution and also invaded the privacy of children. If convicted, she faces 22 years imprisonment. Turkey and Britain have an extradition treaty, however, Home Office officials have stated "Under UK extradition law a judge must order the discharge of [an extradition request] if it is not an offence under UK law and in the country requesting extradition. In this case there is no offence in UK law so there will be no extradition". Turkish Ministry of Justice officials have stated that they will issue an International Interpol arrest warrant for the Duchess thus preventing her from travelling abroad to countries which have an extradition treaty with Turkey. On 17 January 2012, the Duchess cancelled her planned trip to the United States of America for fear of being arrested and extradited to Turkey. Turkey and the United States of America are two NATO allies who have a broadly defined extradition treaty. It has been reported that the Duchess has cancelled all trips abroad for fear of being arrested and extradited to Turkey. Turkey has recently as part of its bid to join the European Union been incorporated into the European justice framework and accordingly has extradition treaties with many countries within Europe.

Turkey maintains that the Duchess distorted information about the orphanage and utilized an isolated incident in a smear campaign against the Republic of Turkey. Turkey invited international human rights organisations to inspect any orphanage of its choosing in order to show its transparency in relation to the issue.

On 5 May 2012, the trial began into the charges brought by the Ankara State Prosecutor's office. Cansu Sahin, representing Sarah Ferguson (as she is referred to in the Turkish Court proceedings), who was not present, told the Ankara court that his client has apologized and would like to plea bargain with the prosecution.


According to news reports, she, her daughters, an investigative reporter and a producer went to Turkey, where they wore disguises and filmed orphans being mistreated for a documentary which aired on ITV1 about their plight.

The only "resolution" that I've been able to find is that Bloomberg reported last fall, her trial in absentia could be suspended because the laws under which she had been charged had changed. Where prosecutors had been seeking 7 to 22.5 years, the maximum punishment under the new regulations is five, so her attorney had petitioned the court.


Here's a CBSNews report from when she was initially charged, which has glimpses of the documentary and though I haven't watched it yet, it appears someone has bootlegged the documentary (or a follow-up) to YouTube in four parts.

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