LISBON, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Iraq has decided to withdraw its ambassador to Portugal Saad Mohammed Ridha, whose twin sons were accused of attacking a Portuguese teenager in August last year, Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said on Thursday.
At a press conference held at the Foreign Ministry, Santos Silva said that the decision to replace Saad Mohammed Ridha was taken by the Iraqi authorities and the legal process in Portugal has been closed.
The announcement of the Iraqi ambassador's withdrawal came a day after the Portuguese Foreign Ministry announced in a statement that it had received from the Attorney General's Office additional information on the case.
Santos Silva said that the legal proceedings, involving the then 17-year-old twins Haider and Ridha Ali, sons of the Iraqi ambassador, who were accused of attacking 15-year-old Ruben Cavaco, will now continue in Iraq.
Haider and Ridha Ali were accused of attacking Cavaco on Aug. 17 last year in the town of Ponte de Sor, about 180 km northeast of Lisbon. He was left in coma for five days at a hospital in Lisbon and was discharged in early September after treatment.
The twin brothers were at first detained by police but soon freed after discovering they were Ridha's sons, as they have diplomatic immunity from prosecution.
"The guarantee I received from the Iraqi authorities is that they intend to continue the proceedings," Santos Silva told reporters on Thursday, adding that the procedural elements gathered in Lisbon could be used by Iraq.
He pointed out that their diplomatic immunity had not been lifted, which meant the legal process could not be continued in Portugal.
Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said the Iraqi ambassador did not have the "conditions" to be in office and confirmed that the case would continue in Baghdad.
"From the information I have, I cannot do no other than concur with the words of the minister of foreign affairs," Rebelo de Sousa told journalists at the sidelines of an event on Thursday at the Institute of Social and Political Sciences in Lisbon.
On Wednesday, Portugal's Ministry of Foreign Affairs had insisted on the need for Iraq to lift the diplomatic immunity of the ambassador's sons for court inquiry, despite an out-of-court compensation agreement with Cavaco's family on Friday.
According to local media reports on Tuesday, Mohammed Ridha had paid the family 40,000 euros (42,800 U.S. dollars) in compensation to the family. He also paid 12,000 euros for treatment expenses for Cavaco.
Portugal's Foreign Ministry had twice asked Iraq to lift diplomatic immunity from the ambassador's sons, however, the Iraqi authorities had asked Portugal to provide further legal details relating to the investigation.