European Court rules against parents of missing Madeleine McCann According to Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Kate and Gerry McCann attend a ceremony commemorating the 11th anniversary of their daughter Madeleine’s disappearance in a holiday apartment in Portugal, near her home in Rothley, England on May 3, 2018. REUTERS / Darren Staples / File Photo

By Juliette Jabkhiro

PARIS (Reuters) – The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday ruled against the parents of missing British child Madeleine McCann, saying Portugal had given them a fair hearing in its smear battle. their slander against a former Portuguese policeman.

Policeman Goncalo Amaral, who worked on the investigation of Madeleine’s disappearance in 2007 during a family vacation in Portugal, suggested in a book he authored, “The Truth of lie”, that the boy’s parents were involved.

Kate and Gerry McCann sued Amaral for defamation. In 2015, a Portuguese court ruled in their favor, ordering Amaral to pay them damages. Two years later, the ruling was overturned by Portugal’s highest court.

The parents then appealed to a European court, arguing that the right to a fair trial, the right to a private family life and the right to freedom of expression were not upheld by Portugal.

The ECHR ruling said the Portuguese judiciary had not failed in its duty to protect the rights of the McCanns family and that their arguments regarding the presumption of innocence were unfounded.

“Even assuming that an applicant’s reputation has been damaged, this is not the result of the book’s author’s argument but is the result of suspicions against them,” the ECHR ruled.

Kate and Gerry McCann said they were “disappointed” with the decision in a statement through their attorney, Ricardo Correia Afonso, but added that “many things have changed” since they began the proceedings. Lawyers said they would not appeal.

“We acted for one and only reason: Mr. Amaral’s baseless claims are having an adverse impact on the search for Madeleine,” the statement said.

“The focus now is on finding Madeleine and her kidnapper(s). We are grateful for the continued work of British, German and Portuguese police.”

Madeleine McCann was three years old when she disappeared in May 2007 from her bedroom in the Algarve apartment her family was staying in.

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

They have campaigned tirelessly to bring attention to their daughter’s disappearance, and British public figures from business moguls to authors and football stars have called for the announcement. believe.

In May, the German prosecutor investigating the case since 2020 said new evidence is likely to charge a convicted child abuser, who is being jailed for raping a woman in the same family. area when Madeleine went missing, has been found.

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