Portugal to ask Iraq lift immunity of envoy’s sons over attack
Portugal will ask Iraq to lift the diplomatic immunity of the twin sons of Baghdad's ambassador to Lisbon after they were accused of assaulting a 15-year-old, the foreign ministry said Wednesday evening.
Prosecutors are seeking to question brothers Haider and Ridha Ali over an incident last week that according to the victim’s lawyer left him with a fractured skull and required doctors to place him into a medically-induced coma.
The incident in Ponte de Sor, central Portugal followed a brawl between locals and pupils at a nearby flight school where one of the twins is enrolled, local media said.
The Ridha twins were arrested but then released because they had diplomatic immunity.
“The request to lift the diplomatic immunity of the sons of the Iraqi ambassador will be sent” to the charge d’affaires Thursday, a Portuguese foreign ministry source said.
The victim was named by a source close to the inquiry as Ruben Cavaco and his lawyer Satana-Maria Ordinnable said that he remains in a critical condition despite being removed from intensive care on Tuesday.
Iraq’s foreign ministry said Tuesday that the country’s envoy to Portugal had been summoned to Baghdad over the incident.
Haider and Ridha were interviewed on the Portuguese television channel SIC, with the former expressing remorse while the latter claimed to have been defending himself from attack.
“I am ready to fully accept the responsibility of my actions, I don’t know what is the Iraqi government’s reaction. I am not hiding under the umbrella of the diplomatic immunity,” Haider Ali said, offering his “deepest apologies” and insisting he wouldn’t leave Portugal.
His brother Ridha said the pair had been “attacked by five or six persons”.
“They passed me around like a ball. I was trying to fight but I couldn’t do much, they were too many people,” he said.