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The European Court of Human Rights ruled against the parents of missing British girl Madeleine McCann on Tuesday, in a 14-year dispute over whether the parents were defamed.
Madeleine McCann disappeared from her bedroom in her apartment in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz in May 2007 when she was three years old. Her parents were reportedly eating at a nearby restaurant with friends at the time.
Jerry and Kate McCann were questioned about their possible involvement in the disappearance in September 2007, but the investigation was dropped due to a lack of evidence. Then the authorities acquitted the McCann family of any involvement.
The parents sued Portuguese policeman Goncalo Amaral for his implication in Madeleine’s disappearance in his 2008 book, The Truth of a Lie.
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A Portuguese court initially ruled in favor of the parents in 2015 and ordered Amaral to pay damages. But the High Court of Justice in Portugal overturned the ruling two years later.
This decision prompted the McCanns to sue the state of Portugal through the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), arguing that they had not received a fair hearing and that their right to privacy had been infringed.
But the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday that the Portuguese judiciary had given the parents a fair trial, concluding that their arguments about the presumption of innocence were unfounded.
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The European Court of Human Rights ruled that “even assuming that the applicants’ reputations had been damaged, this was not due to the argument made by the author of the book but as a result of the doubts expressed against them.”
“[The Supreme Court of Justice] He made no comments suggesting any guilt on the part of the applicants or even suggesting a suspicion against them in connection with the circumstances in which their daughter had disappeared. “It is clearly unfounded.”
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It is not known if Jerry and Kate McCann will appeal the latest decision.
Reuters contributed to this report.