Madeleine McCann’s parents lose latest court battle against Portugal

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that the State of Portugal did not at any time violate the rights of Kate and Gerry McCann because of statements made by a former Portuguese commissioner who had linked Madeleine McCann’s parents to her disappearance in May 2007, as they were considered suspects by investigators at the time.

The parents of the three-year-old girl who disappeared in the Algarve alleged in their lawsuit that former commissioner Gonçalo Amaral, who was initially responsible for the case, had violated their right to reputation and their right to the presumption of innocence by statements made in a book, a documentary and an interview, in a case extendable to the Portuguese state.

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The ECtHR understood that the statements made by Amaral were based on facts and that, in the event that the McCanns’ image had been damaged during the investigations, it would not be attributable to what the former commissioner said, since the suspicions about them — and the media stir they generated — were already public beforehand.

Thus, it assumes that “the publication of the book undeniably caused anger, distress and discomfort” to the plaintiffs, but none of Amaral’s statements appear to have affected the “social relationships” of Maddie’s parents or their “legitimate” efforts to try to find their daughter’s whereabouts.

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The judges of the European court also validate some judgments of the Portuguese Supreme Court with which, in 2017, rejected the civil claims filed by the McCann family, as they understand that they do not imply to consider her guilty of the facts or even nurture a minimum suspicion.

May 2022 marked fifteen years since Madeleine McCann disappeared in Praia da Luz and, after all kinds of comings and goings in the case, the German authorities pointed this same year on the first suspect in the disappearance, Christian Brueckner, who was already serving time for sex crimes.

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