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Sunday 18 February 2018

Michaela murder: Death pictures editor in court but won’t co-operate

The 'Sunday Times' newspaper offices in Port Louis
Mauritian Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam at his office in Port Louis yesterday.
John McAreavey and Michaela on their wedding day.
Michaela McAreavey's father Mickey Harte and brothers Matthew, left, and Michael speaking to reporters outside their family home near Ballygawley at the time of her death
John McAreavey's sister Claire and their father Brendan
Michaela taking part in the Rose of Tralee

Fiona Forde and Mayessen Nagapa-Chetty in Port Louis

THE editor of the Mauritian newspaper, arrested in connection with the publication of the Michaela McAreavey murder photos – who is due in court today - is refusing to co-operate with the police.

Imran Hosany, who is both the editor and director-general of the Mauritian 'Sunday Times', was arrested at his home in the capital Port Louis early yesterday morning and was questioned throughout the day.

Police commissioner Dhun Ishwar Rampersad said Mr Hosany is in court today in connection with the publication of the photos.

"He has availed of his right to silence and, so far, he is not co-operating with us," Mr Rampersad told the Irish Independent. "He will most likely appear in court (today) and then we will take it from there."

Under Mauritian law, a suspect can be held for up to 14 days "and if we have to, we will hold him for the duration, until we get to the bottom of this horrendous case".

The 'Sunday Times', a relatively new newspaper in Mauritius, published 12 graphic photos of the 27-year-old's remains, which were taken after she was murdered in January last year.

Michaela was strangled in her hotel room three days after arriving on the island. Two men charged with her murder, Avinash Treebhoowoon and Sandip Moneea, were acquitted last week.

Three days later, the 'Sunday Times' splashed the black-and-white photos of her body across its front and inside pages.

Though Mr Hosany had apologised on Monday for publishing the photos, and attempted to justify his decision as a means to keeping the high-profile and unsolved murder case alive in the public mind, he backtracked while in custody yesterday and refused to co-operate.

Separately, defence lawyers for Mr Treebhoowoon and Mr Moneea -- Sanjeev Teeluckdharry and Rama Valayden -- yesterday held a joint press conference.

They alleged the Mauritian police had been withholding information from Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam during the investigation. Both men have called for its reopening.

They also said that "it is highly possible that after consulting (with) our respective clients, we will sue the state for damages".

Mr Teeluckdharry also outlined 40 alleged omissions in the police investigation. These included a footprint and handprint found at the scene of the crime that were not tested, the fact that dogs were not used, and that 116 items were not tested.

He also questioned why immunity was granted to the state's main witness, Raj Theekoy, and pointed out that key witnesses were not interviewed.

Mr Valayden called for the reopening of the investigation but he stressed that the inquiry should not be under the supervision of the Major Crime Investigation Team (MCIT).

Mr Valayden demanded that whatever evidence the MCIT was in possession of be secured by the state until such time as foreign investigators arrived.

Mr Teeluckdharry added that a "miscarriage of justice tribunal" must be in place in order to treat the many claims of alleged police brutality.

Irish Independent

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