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Editor faces jail over pics of Michaela

THE editor of the Mauritian Sunday Times was due in court today charged with crimes against morality after he published shocking pictures of Michaela McAreavey's body.

Imraan Hosany faces up to a year in prison if found guilty.

His decision to publish 12 black and white photographs of Michaela's corpse sparked a furious reaction from the McAreavey and Harte families.

The move also prompted an emergency meeting between Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and the Irish ambassador to Mauritius Brendan McMahon earlier this week.

Mr Hossany is understood to have become ill while in police custody and was examined for high blood pressure.

He was due to be brought before the court at around 1pm Mauritian time, according to police.

Jimmy Jean Louis, a senior journalist at the paper, told the Herald today that if Mr Hossany is not freed today, he will go on "hunger strike".

The Herald understands that Mr Hosany has so far refused to co-operate with a police investigation into how he obtained the photographs.

The Mauritian prime minister Dr Navin Ramgoolam claimed in a Herald interview that it appeared the photographs were leaked by someone in the legal field connected to the murder trial.

But lawyer Sanjeev Teeluckdharry told the Herald the prime minister's claim was "false" and "misguided".

"The prime minister is being misinformed to suggest we leaked the photographs. We have never leaked anything to a journalist. We condemn the despicable publication of the photographs."

The two men cleared of Michaela's murder -- Avinash Treebhoowoon and Sandip Moneea -- appeared at a press conference held by their defence counsels, who claim the police investigation into Michaela's murder was flawed.

They said: "Unidentified fingerprints were not looked into, police dogs were not brought to the scene of crime, there was no inquiry on the neighbouring rooms of 1025 and their occupants."

The lawyers also stated that Mr Treebhoowoon and Mr Moneea were considering suing. the state over being detained for 18 months.

hnews@herald.ie