It’s deadline day for the Iraqi embassy to answer Portugal’s request to lift diplomatic immunity protecting the twin son’s of its ambassador who beat Portuguese teen Rúben Cavaco to a pulp in August.
National media warned last week that the embassy’s continued failure to respond to an official request put on August 25 could lead to both boys being declared “personae non grata” and expelled from the country.
It could also lead to the expulsion of Iraqi ambassador Saad Mohammed Ridha Ali.
But still today (Friday) there is silence (see UPDATE).
Yesterday, national tabloid Correio da Manhã revealed Mr Ali has already paid all Rúben’s hospital bills as a result of the savage beating at the hands of his 17-year-old sons.
The final tally came to over €12,000, said the paper, and covered the two operations Rúben had to undergo to repair facial injuries and bring him back from the brink.
The youth who turned 16 shortly after his attack, still needs interventions to replace lost teeth – and only last week, Expresso revealed he needed dermatological help as he was “losing his hair”.
As the boy’s family have stressed, the physical and psychological consequences of the beating are long from over.
Vilma Pires, Rúben’s mother, has also said that the last thing the family is interested in is the twins being expelled from Portugal.
It wants justice, she said, as well as proper compensation.
Anything less would be “a further attack on Rúben”, and on the Portuguese people who believe their government is there to protect their interests.
Shortly before 2pm today, Público reported that the Iraqi embassy has indeed replied, but the response is still being ‘analysed’ by the government.
Foreign affairs minister Augusto Santos Silva says he will be releasing a public statement “later”.