The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) Tuesday unanimously ruled against the parents of missing child Madeleine McCann. The ECHR stated that Portugal authorities gave Kate and Gerry McCann a fair trial in their libel suit against former Portuguese police officer Goncalo Amaral. The ECHR also released a statement regarding the ruling.
The McCanns sued Amaral in 2015 after he published a book insinuating the parents were involved in Madeleine’s disappearance. A Portuguese court ruled in the McCanns’ favor, but the decision was overturned two years later. The McCanns appealed to the ECHR, claiming that their right to a fair trial, right to respect for private family life, right to reputation and right to be presumed innocent were violated. The ECHR reasoned that, even if the McCann’s reputation was damaged, it was because of suspicions against them and not by any argument made by the former inspector. The court found that the McCann’s right to be presumed innocent was “ill-founded.”
In 2007 Madeleine McCann disappeared from a hotel while on vacation with her family in Portugal. Amaral was the inspector originally assigned to the investigation. Investigators briefly suspected and investigated Madeleine’s parents, but the investigation ceased in 2008. Amaral was removed from the investigation in 2007 and published a book in 2008 alleging that “evidence proved negligence on the part of the parents with regard to the care and safety of the children.”
Kate and Gerry McCann stated that they are “disappointed” in the court’s ruling, but they remain focused on the search for their daughter and her abductor.