Iraq refuses to lift diplomatic immunity over savage beating of Alentejo teen

National media has been on fire since the passing of the deadline by which Portuguese authorities were hoping for a conclusive answer on the lifting of diplomatic immunity still protecting the son’s of Iraq’s ambassador from prosecution for their savage beating of 15 year old Rúben Cavaco, in Ponte de Sor, last August.

Iraqi authorities dragged their heels with the answer till the last possibly moment.

When it arrived at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs it was pronounced “unsatisfactory” by minister Augusto Santos Silva who has since stressed that Portugal will use “all possible mechanisms” to see this matter settled.

But in the ‘crossfire’, Rúben’s outraged mother has been demanding that Portugal cut off relations with Iraq altogether.

This will not happen, Santos Silva guarantees – stressing the two issues are totally unconnected.

Explained Diário de Notícias: “The minister considers this matter does not threaten relations with Iraq, nor is it a case that obliges the relations with Baghdad to be broken”.

Nonetheless, Portugal “will not stop until the matter is totally cleared up in conformity with international law”.

“The lifting of diplomatic immunity is the only mechanism that allows justice to take place in the country in which the crime was committed”, he said, vowing to work towards this, however long it takes, to his “very limit”.

As news sources have explained, another alternative is for the twin son’s of ambassador Saad Mohammed Ridha Ali to be considered “personae non grata” and expelled from Portugal.

But as Rúben Cavaco’s mother has explained, this would be a cop-out, and an insult, in her words, to her son and the Portuguese people in general.

“One more kick in the head, and my son would not be here today”, Vilma Pires has told reporters.

Rúben continues to recover at his home in Ponte de Sor, but the physical and mental consequences of his beating are likely to remain with him for a very long time, she added.

Only 10 days ago, Expresso revealed the boy who turned 16 as he was released from hospital is “losing his hair” – almost certainly as a result of the trauma he has endured and the heavy medication that was used to put him into an induced coma for almost a week following reconstructive facial surgery.

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