Portugal asks Baghdad to lift immunity for ambassador's sons

AP News
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Posted: Aug 25, 2016 11:26 AM

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal's foreign ministry asked Baghdad on Thursday to lift the diplomatic immunity of the Iraqi ambassador's teenage sons who are suspected of attempted homicide.

The foreign ministry said in a statement it conveyed the request to the Iraqi charge d'affaires in Lisbon.

The Portuguese attorney-general's office said in a statement late Wednesday that investigators suspect the ambassador's twin 17-year-old sons in the brutal beating last week of a 15-year-old Portuguese boy, who spent five days in a coma. He has severe facial and skull fractures. The attorney-general's office said it wanted the boys' immunity lifted so they can be interrogated by detectives.

The Iraqi teenagers, sons of Ambassador Saad Mohammed Ridha, have admitted to Portuguese media they assaulted the boy during night-time fighting with local youths in a rural town.

The incident occurred Aug. 17 in the town of Ponte de Sor, 180 kilometers (110 miles) northeast of Lisbon, where Haider Ridha was attending a course at a local flying school.

In an interview with SIC television, his brother Ali Ridha said he sustained a fractured nose and foot in an initial clash with six Portuguese teenagers outside a bar. Later, he said, he and his brother encountered one of that group alone in the street.

Ali said he approached the boy, who punched him. Ali said he then chased the boy, punched him and "kicked him a few times when he was on the ground" before being stopped by his brother Haider.

"We never intended to harm someone that bad," Ali said in the interview conducted in English.

"We completely lost (control)," Haider said.

The embassy has declined to comment on the case.