Madeleine McCann: Court rejects parents’ claim over ex-cop’s comments

The parents of Madeleine McCann, who disappeared when she was a three-year-old in 2007, lost a case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Gerald McCann and Kate Healy have appealed the comments of a former Portuguese policeman in a documentary book and newspaper interview.

Goncalo Amaral, who worked on the investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance, noted in a book he wrote that the girl’s parents were involved.

McCann and Healy have argued his claims about their alleged involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance, damaging their reputation and presumption of innocence.

But the European Court of Human Rights dismissed the case on Tuesday.

“The court held that – even assuming that the plaintiffs’ reputations had been damaged – it was not because of the argument made by the author of the book but as a result of the doubts expressed against them, which led to him being investigated in the course of the criminal investigation and led to intense media attention and much controversy” The European Court of Human Rights said in a press release.

“The public was thus informed of the information in some detail even before the investigation file was made available to the media and the book in question was published. Subsequently, the national authorities did not fail in their positive obligation to protect the applicants’ “right to respect for their private lives.”

Madeleine McCann was three years old when she disappeared on May 3, 2007, from the bedroom of the Algarve apartment where her family was staying. Early investigations by the Portuguese police yielded no major leads and for a while investigators focused attention on the parents.

The parents were questioned by the police as official suspects that fall. The following July, Portuguese police dropped their investigation citing lack of evidence, acquitting them of any involvement.

They campaigned tirelessly to draw attention to the disappearance of their daughter, and British public figures from business tycoons to authors and football stars made appeals for information.

A child abuser and drug dealer has emerged as a prime suspect. In May, the German public prosecutor, who has been investigating the case since 2020, said new evidence had been found potentially incriminating the suspect, who was jailed for raping a woman in the same area when Madeleine went missing.

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