Outrage over the suggestion that the 17-year-old twins of Iraq’s ambassador to Portugal could skip charges after allegedly beating a young Portuguese boy to a pulp has inflamed online newspaper commentary and run amok across social media.
The big question remains “why is diplomatic immunity” even applicable in this case?
The sons of Saad Mohammed Ridha Ali are not diplomats, and they are accused of a serious, violent crime.
They are alleged to have ambushed local boy Rúben Cavaco after a disagreement in a local bar in the Alentejan town of Ponte de Sor. One brother was understood to have run into the boy with the embassy Mercedes while the other, on foot, is understood to have launched into a vicious bout of punching and kicking (click here).
The reported facts suggest the Iraqi boys were breaking the law on a number of counts even before the alleged ambush.
They are too young to drive, and too young to be served drinks in a bar.
The same goes for Rúben Cavaco who today is still fighting for his life after reconstructive surgery for the appalling injuries to his face. Media reports say he is in an induced coma at Lisbon’s top trauma unit at Santa Maria Hospital, surrounded by family members.
Calls to the Iraqi embassy in Lisbon have simply confirmed that the twin boys arrested on Wednesday are indeed the sons of ambassador Ali.
Whether they are still in Portugal was something the telephonist said she was not at liberty to discuss. “I cannot say anything about this,” she told us this morning.
The boys were released from police custody on the basis that they have diplomatic immunity, but the severity of the crime facing them may see charges being brought.
Last night, the ministry of foreign affairs confirmed that Portugal “could request that the immunity is lifted”, reports Diário de Notícias.
And this morning national tabloid Correio da Manhã says that “the judge in charge of the case will be asking for the lifting of diplomatic immunity of the two 17-year-olds”.
Meantime, the G Air Training Centre in Ponte de Sor has announced that it has opened a process of expulsion for the twin enrolled for a pilot’s licence.
Initial reports said both boys were training to be pilots at the centre, but this has been amended to only one. A ‘Pedro’, posting for the centre, has added that G Air “repudiates totally what happened” and is “standing by the family of the boy who has been injured”.
The actions of G Air’s pupil “are intolerable”, said Pedro, and “damage the good name of the school and all its pupils and collaborators”.
The posting, concluded: “According to the school’s code of conduct, the process of pupil expulsion has been opened.”
CM has added that neither of the twin boys has been seen in public since they were released from police custody.
PHOTO: G Air Training Centre’s latest batch of student recruits, as per the flying school’s Facebook page. According to national television, the school is a centre for training pilots for airlines from all over the world.