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Posted by portugalpress on August 18, 2016

The 17-year-old sons of Iraq’s ambassador to Portugal were in police custody yesterday after a horrific attack on a 15-year-old boy in Ponte de Sôr, in the Alentejo.

The young Portuguese, named today only as Rúben, has been placed in an induced coma in Lisbon’s Santa Maria hospital in a “grave condition”.

Contacted by Lusa news agency, the hospital has declined to give details as the youngster is a minor.

Witnesses, however, have told journalists that he was unrecogniseable after being kicked and beaten.

He is also believed to have been run-over by a car registered to the Iraqi embassy.

News reports suggest “the next 48 to 72 hours will be crucial” as the boy’s prognosis is “very reserved”.

He has already been operated for ‘facial lesions’, but the “most worrying” injury is that to his head.

National tabloid Correio da Manhã is calling it “brain trauma”, and this far, CM is the only paper who has identified the alleged aggressors, carrying a large photograph of them in the back of a car.

The boys are twins, and understood to be attending a school for pilots in Ponte de Sôr.

Their victim is described by Jornal de Notícias as a local boy, known for being “calm and tranquil”, thus what caused the attack is under investigation.

It began in a bar and appears to have come to its “extremely violent” end near a gym hall in Avenida da Liberdade, just before 4am.

CM suggests Ruben had just taken his girlfriend home, when he was “ambushed” by his attackers - one of whom was on foot, the other driving a Mercedes registered to the Iraqi embassy.

It was because of the diplomatic plates that witnesses were easily able to identify the vehicle to police, said the paper.

CM suggests one of the brothers ran into Ruben, while the other set upon him, punching and kicking him as he lay on the ground.

A friend of the injured boy has told the paper: “We only knew it was Ruben from the watch and his trainers. It was just a pool of blood.”

For now, requests for some kind of statement from the Iraqi embassy have gone unanswered, while it is also unclear whether the twin brothers have been kept in custody, or whether they have managed to invoke some form of diplomatic immunity.

The investigation has passed from GNR police to the PJ.

UPDATE:

In the briefest of updates, Lusa has revealed that the twin boys "have diplomatic immunity". They may have been in police custody yesterday, but it seems certain that they will have been subsequently released.

Lusa adds that diplomatic immunity is usually extended to diplomats, allowing them to avoid all kinds of legal issues, including those of a penal nature.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com

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