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Iraqi embassy pays €52,000 so that Ponte de Sor attack “doesn’t see family complain”

Money is talking in the controversy surrounding the 18-year-sons of Iraq’s ambassador to Portugal. Despite the fact that the embassy has still failed to meet government deadlines over the issue of lifting diplomatic immunity, it has ‘sealed a deal’ with the family of the boy so badly battered by the twins last August.

According to the family’s lawyer, it involves “tens of thousands of euros”. According to national tabloid Correio da Manha, it amounts to €65,000 (this was later amended to €52,000), due to be fully paid into the family’s bank account by Monday (January 16).

The nuts and bolts of the agreement are that with this money the family of Rúben Cavaco will have sufficient to pay all Rúben’s medical expenses as a result of the beating which left him unrecognisable and needing facial reconstruction surgery.

It will also be enough to stop the family from considering any kind of judicial complaint outside the parameters of the ongoing Public Ministry investigation into suspicions of attempted murder.

As to this latter process, CM says the government has not dropped its demand for the twins’ diplomatic immunity to be waived (so that they can be heard by police in the form of official suspects).

But the fact that the family have accepted an out-of-court settlement for damages will be taken into account, said foreign affairs minister Augusto Santos Silva when the government ‘deliberates’ on the results of its latest deadline.

CM suggests if the Iraqis fail to agree to lift diplomatic immunity protecting the twins from interrogation as official suspects, they may be declared “personae non gratae” and expelled from Portugal once and for all.

Exactly where the twins are today, and how this might affect the position of their father, ambassador Saad Mohammed Ridha Ali, has not been explained.

But Rúben Cavaco’s family lawyer, Santana Maia Leonardo has told Rádio Renascença that in his opinion it is time now to ‘go easy’ on the ambassador, because “it was not he” who attacked Rúben in the early hours of the morning in a dimly lit street in Ponte de Sor last August

“If Rúben had been left with very serious consequences, if the ambassador had not been concerned enough to compensate the victim, we could still say that ‘they were not judged’” he told the station. “But the fact is that the sons of the ambassador and the ambassador himself have done even more than could have been expected. They have assumed responsibility, made reparation and paid. In fact to be it would seem unfair if the Portuguese State (now) took a tough position against the ambassador, when the lifting of immunity is not in his hands”.

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