Iraq has been given one more week to decide whether or not to accede to Portugal’s request to lift diplomatic immunity protecting the twin sons of its ambassador, who have already admitted to the savage beating 15-year-old Rúben Cavaco in Ponte de Sor last August.
In a press conference given in Lisbon this morning before he leaves to accompany prime minister António Costa on a five-day state visit to India, foreign affairs minister Augusto Santos Silva left it quite clear nonetheless that this latest ‘time extension’ afforded the Iraqis will be the last.
“The government will decide” on the issue on his return, he stressed – adding that as far as he is concerned, a week from now will be more than adequate to settle the issues raised by Iraq at the 11th hour.
According to Rádio Renascença, the “series of juridical questions” are centred most on the ”conditions of interrogation of other witnesses”, while “one relates to the facts” – which were widely publicised by national media when this story first broke and Rúben was still fighting for his life in an induced coma with serious injuries to his face and head.
But Santos Silva was quite adamant that now it is time for justice – the moment for Rúben Cavaco’s family to receive “the reparation it deserves”.
Only last month, the family’s lawyer Santana-Maia Leonardo revealed that Rúben, though back at school, is now a great deal worse off than he was at the outset of his recovery (click here).
Aside from the psychological trauma which has caused him to start losing his hair (click here), he has been experiencing “difficulties” in moving his right arm and leg, and “ cannot write for very long”.
The boy’s ‘against-all-odds’ return to consciousness was nothing short of miraculous – as his mother Vânia Pires has frequently told reporters in the weeks following his release from hospital – but it is simply “not yet complete”, says the family’s legal representative.
Nonetheless, Iraq’s response has now concluded “formal interaction” between the two countries’ authorities, Santos Silva affirmed.
It all depends now on the answers that come back from the Public Ministry, and how Iraq reacts to them.
Rádio Renascença has sketched a number of scenarios that could result from Iraq failing to lift the twin’s immunity from prosecution, but for the time being, bets are hedged as everyone waits for what Iraq ultimately decides.