Portugal court hears libel case brought by parents of missing British girl Madeleine McCann

A Lisbon court has started hearing a libel case brought by the parents of missing British girl Madeleine McCann against a former Portuguese detective who published a book alleging they were involved in their daughter's disappearance.

The McCanns are seeking 1.2 million euros ($1.6 million) in damages from Goncalo Amaral, who was part of the police investigation into Madeleine's disappearance from a vacation home in Portugal's Algarve region in May 2007, days before her fourth birthday.

The McCanns' lawyer, Isabel Duarte, told reporters at the court Thursday the couple are seeking damages because Amaral's 2008 book defamed them. They say Madeleine was abducted.

Portuguese police closed the case in 2008 after failing to find out what happened to Madeleine, though British police are investigating what they say are new leads.