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Iraq requests “more time” over Portugal’s insistence to lift ambassador’s street-attack twins’ diplomatic immunity

Iraq has requested “more time” over Portugal’s insistence that it lift the diplomatic immunity protecting the twin sons of its ambassador who have already admitted to savagely beating a 15-year-old Portuguese boy in Ponte de Sor, in the Alentejo, in August.

TSF radio reports that minister for foreign affairs Augusto Santos Silva is now expecting immunity to be lifted “by the second week of October”.

Hopes in August were that this would happen as a result of this week’s meeting with Iraqi counterparts during the recent UN general assembly in New York (click here).

However, Santos Silva told TSF that although Iraq’s head of diplomacy “said sorry several times” during the various meetings, he stopped short of making the decision that Portuguese authorities say is paramount in this investigation.

If in two weeks time a decision is still unforthcoming, “Lisbon will resort to mechanisms enshrined in international law and the Vienna Convention” to declare Iraqi ambassador Saad Mohammed Ridha Ali “persona non grata”, adds TSF.

Meantime, the teen who is making a slow but sure recovery from his horrific ordeal (click here) has given his first ‘face-to-face’ interview with the press, saying he too thinks it is time the twins faced the consequences for what they did.

Unable to go into details as the case is still “in secrecy of justice”, Rúben Cavaco – who celebrated his 16th birthday two weeks ago – said his attackers, Haider and Ridha Ali, should be brought to justice “to learn they shouldn’t do (things like) this”.

The 17-year-old twins told SIC television news shortly after the attack that they were “victims of circumstance”, and that the combination of alcohol, teenagers and “the group mentality” was “a dangerous recipe”.

Nonetheless, it is largely accepted that the youths attacked Rúben when the younger boy was walking on his own in a deserted street.

One of the theories aired by the Portuguese media is that the Iraqi brothers had the help of an embassy security guard.

Thus investigators’ interest in getting to the bottom of this story, while Rúben’s defence lawyer is understood to be pushing for compensation for his client.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com

PHOTO taken from interview given by twins to SIC Television