Portugal is due to ask Iraq to lift the diplomatic immunity of the twin sons of the country’s ambassador to Portugal who are involved in the brutal beating of 15-year-old Portuguese teen Rúben Cavaco on August 18 in Ponte de Sôr, Alentejo.
The news was confirmed after Portugal’s Public Prosecutor’s Office (PGR) said yesterday (August 24) that it is “essential” to interrogate the twin brothers as ‘arguidos’ (official suspects).
PGR said the facts determined this far could link the two to “a crime of attempted homicide”.
Shortly after, Portugal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, confirmed a meeting will take place today to formalise the request. He explained that “only the Iraqi authorities who could lift the immunity”.
The request could be made as soon as today, reports the national media.
Haider and Ridha Ali,17, are the twin sons of Saad Mohammed Ali, Iraq’s ambassador to Portugal. In an interview with SIC Notícias, they have already admitted that they “lost control” after feeling insulted and attacked Rúben Cavaco, who is still recovering in hospital.
According to Jornal de Notícias, he is in a “vegetative state” at the paediatrics unit of Lisbon’s Santa Maria Hospital, though he has already awoken from his coma and called for his mother whom he at first did not recognise.
His stepfather Marco Silva says he is improving, though he has been “very agitated and has tried to remove his tubes”.
Speaking to JN, Silva said he did not believe the twins’ side of the story, and added later in an interview with TVI that the way they hit Rúben, with many blows to the head, “was meant to kill”.
“What they did was an act of barbarity,” he said, adding that the twins did not act in self-defence as Rúben was alone and it was “two against one”.
Meantime, a friend of Rúben, who was with him at the time the altercations began inside the Koppus Bar in Ponte de Sôr, has told SIC TV channel that it was the Iraqi twins who provoked Rúben and his friends, not the other way around as the brothers suggested in their interview with SIC (click here).
“They took off their pants two or three times, made gestures…,” he told SIC, saying that Rúben’s group ignored them at first as they were “drunk”.
Asking to remain anonymous, the youngster alleges that it was Haider and Ridha who provoked the initial “small fight” outside the bar.
However, a student at the local G Air Training Centre, where one of the twins was studying to become a pilot, has also been interviewed by SIC as he was with the twins on the night of the beating and said that “both groups are to blame for what happened”.
Also asking to remain anonymous, the young man, who has been in Portugal for two months, claims to only have met the twins on that night.
He says they met first at the Indiferente Bar, where the twins got “drunk” before going to Koppus Bar.
He claims that, once there, one of the twins “flashed” his backside which upset the Portuguese group.
The young man goes on to say that his group left first, and Rúben’s followed. The fight ensued outside.
Readers are reminded that the attack on Rúben happened hours later when the twins returned to the scene and found the boy walking the streets alone. They allege the Portuguese teenager was verbally abusive and keen to pick another fight.
As the investigation continues and more sides of the story continue to emerge, attention is now shifting to Iraq and whether it will respond positively or not to Portugal’s request to lift the twins’ immunity.