Madeleine McCann’s parents lost the latest round of a legal battle over claims made by a Portuguese police detective.
Kate and Gerry McCann took their case against Goncalo Amaral for libel to the European Court of Human Rights because they didn’t agree with a decision made in Portugal.
He said in the book that they were responsible for their daughter going missing.
The McCanns said that they were “naturally” upset by the court’s decision.
Madeleine, who was 3 years old, was last seen in a rental apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007.
Mr. Amaral was the lead detective on the case at first, but he was taken off the case after he said bad things about British police.
Portuguese police looked into the McCanns at first, but in July 2008, they were no longer seen as suspects in the case.
The couple sued Mr. Amaral for libel, and a Portuguese court found in their favour and gave them £358,000. However, the Supreme Court of Portugal later upheld an appeal against the decision.
In their case at the European Court, the couple said that the Portuguese courts had not protected their right to privacy and their right to be treated as innocent.
In a ruling on Tuesday, the court said that the couple were already well-known before Mr. Amaral’s book came out, and that if their reputation was hurt, it was because they were named suspects, not because of Mr. Amaral’s claims.
It also said that in its ruling, Portugal’s Supreme Court had not “made comments implying any guilt… or even suggesting suspicions against” the McCanns. This meant that their complaint about their right to be presumed innocent was “clearly unfounded.”
Through their lawyers, the couple said in a statement: “Now, the search for Madeleine and her kidnappers is where the attention should be.”
“We appreciate the work that the British, German, and Portuguese police do every day.
“We hope that with the help of the public, hard work, and persistence, we can find out who took Madeleine and bring them to justice.”
Christian Brueckner, a German man, was named as an official suspect in the case before.
He is in prison in Germany for other crimes, and he has denied having anything to do with Madeleine’s disappearance.
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