April 2, 2023

Madeleine McCann’s parents say they are “disappointed” they have lost their legal battle over comments made by a former Portuguese detective.

Goncalo Amaral has claimed in a book, a documentary and a newspaper interview that Kate and Gerry McCann were involved in the disappearance of their three-year-old daughter.

On Tuesday, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rejected the couple’s claim that Portuguese authorities failed to respect their rights to private and family life in the defamation case against Mr Amaral.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled that the claims against them had been widely publicized before Mr Amaral’s book was published in July 2008. It also found that their reputations were not damaged by him, but because of the fact that they became official suspects for a short time.

McCanns now have three months to appeal the decision.

In a statement released by their lawyers, the McCanns said: “We are naturally disappointed by the decision announced by the European Court of Human Rights today.

“However, much has changed since we brought legal action against his publisher and broadcaster Mr Amaral 13 years ago.

“We acted for one reason only: Mr Amaral’s unfounded claims were detrimental to the search for Madeleine.

“If the public believes we are involved in her disappearance, people will not be alert to possible leads and may not report relevant information to the relevant law enforcement agencies.”

They also thanked the British, German and Portuguese police for their work and hoped those responsible for their daughter’s disappearance would be brought to justice.

Madeleine disappeared from her holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007, while her parents were dining at a nearby restaurant.

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