Michaela murder: newspaper chief charged with photographer assault

Imran Hosany Imran Hosany is being questioned about the photographs which appeared in his paper

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The editor of the Mauritian Sunday Times, which published photographs of the Michaela McAreavey crime scene, has appeared in court charged with assault.

Imran Hosany denied assaulting an Irish Daily Mail photographer.

It is thought he will appear in court on Thursday charged with an offence linked to the publication of photos taken at the Legends Hotel suite, where Mrs McAreavey was murdered.

He is set to be charged with outraging public and religious morality.

This offence carries a punishment of up to a year in jail under Mauritius law.

Mrs McAreavey, 27, from County Tyrone, was killed in her honeymoon suite on the island in January 2011.

Pictures of the teacher lying dead in her room, published by the paper at the weekend, caused outrage in Ireland.

'Callous'

Mr Hosany, who is the newspaper's editor and director general, was arrested on Wednesday and the paper's office in the capital Port Louis was searched.

Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the actions of the paper in publishing the photographs were "callous and unjustifiable".

Mr Hosany has apologised. He said the motive was not sensationalism. Instead, it was "to recall that such a heinous crime remained unpunished".

However, Prime Minister Dr Ramgoolam told the Mauritian parliament on Tuesday: "This is a clear illustration of one of the most despicable methods of abuse and breach of the right to freedom of expression.

"It shows an utter lack of respect for, and a reckless infliction of further hardship on the bereaved families."

The BBC's Yasine Mohabuth in Port Louis said a team of the Central Criminal Investigation Department had searched the newspaper's office and seized computers and computing devices.

Last week, two former workers at the hotel were found not guilty of Mrs McAreavey's murder.

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