Madeleine McCann’s parents have lost the most recent round of their court dispute over remarks made by a former Portuguese officer who claimed they were responsible for her abduction.
The libel allegations against Goncalo Amaral were handled by Portuguese courts, according to Kate and Gerry McCann’s attorneys, who claimed that this violated their right to respect for a private and family life.
He asserted that the McCanns were responsible for the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine in a book, TV documentary, and newspaper interview.
The European Court of Human Rights decided that, more than Mr. Amaral’s remarks, the couple’s reputation had been harmed by the fact that they were designated formal suspects in the case for a brief period of time.
They claimed that while they were “naturally disappointed” by the decision, they had taken legal action in response to Mr. Amaral’s allegations out of concern that they may jeopardize the search for Madeleine.
They said in a statement released through their attorneys: We are naturally disappointed with the European Court of Human Rights ruling published today.
However, a lot has happened since we first filed a lawsuit against Mr. Amaral, his publisher, and his broadcaster 13 years ago.
“We took action for one and only one reason: Mr. Amaral’s unfounded claims were having a detrimental impact on the search for Madeleine,” the statement reads.
On May 3, 2007, their three-year-old daughter disappeared while they were on vacation in Praia da Luz, Portugal.
A prosecutor stated in an interview with Portuguese television earlier this year that German detectives had discovered fresh evidence against the main suspect in her disappearance.
As a 15-year legal limit drew near, Portuguese authorities named convicted sex offender Christian Brueckner as a suspect in the case. German authorities had been looking into him for two years.