Sarah Ferguson
The Duchess of York leapt to the defence of her ex-husband on a US TV show

Sarah Ferguson was charged by a Turkish court for secretly filming conditions in state-run orphanages in Turkey in 2008.

The Duchess of York was accused of "breaching the privacy of five children", said the Anatolia News Agency.

The charge relates to a documentary made by the duchess for ITV's "Tonight" programme in 2008, for which she secretly documented the life of children at children's homes in Turkey with a hidden camera. For the making of the documentary named "Duchess and Daughters: Their Secret Mission," the duchess toured the Saray Institution, near the Turkish capital of Ankara, wearing a black wig and headscarf.

Saray Institution housed more than 700 disabled children. The duchess gained access with her daughters Eugenie and Beatrice posing as potential donors, the reported.

She secretly filmed the children who appeared to be tied to their beds in wooden boxes and left alone in cribs without food.

Ferguson was not in court in Ankara when the charges were laid. If convicted she faces a prison term of 22 years.

"The Duchess of York has fully co-operated with both the Turkish and British authorities at all times in this issue. The action today reported by Turkish authorities is news to all," a spokesman for the duchess said.

Though the Turkish authorities have sought an extradition of the duchess in 2009, the British government refused to oblige and ruled out any further cooperation over the matter.

"British ministers refused to accede the request for further legal assistance from Turkey so, from a UK perspective, we've been told by the Home Office that the case is now closed," the spokesman added.

The Turkish government has accused Britain of a smear campaign against the country when the documentary was aired in 2008 and termed it as an attempt to oppose Turkey's European Union membership.