Spain court orders release of Ashya King's parents

2nd September 2014, Comments 0 comments

A Spanish judge on Tuesday ordered the immediate release of the British parents arrested for taking their ill son Ashya King out of hospital, a court source said.

The move opened the way for Brett and Naghemeh King to leave jail in Madrid and be reunited with their son, who has a brain tumour and is being treated in a hospital in Malaga, southern Spain.

Judge Fernando Andreu at the National Court in Madrid "has just ordered the immediate release of Brett and Naghemeh King" after Britain's Crown Prosecution Service withdrew its extradition order, the source told AFP late Tuesday.

Brett King, 51, and Naghemeh King, 45, were arrested in Spain under a European arrest warrant for taking five-year-old Ashya out of hospital in England after disagreeing with doctors over his cancer treatment.

The Spanish court had been set to rule on Wednesday on the extradition demand, but British prosecutors said they were withdrawing the warrant as there was not the evidence to indicate the couple had committed a crime.

"The summons scheduled for tomorrow is rendered void and the judicial proceedings will be shelved," said the judicial source in Madrid, who asked not to be named.

Public sympathy in Britain had grown for the couple, who are seeking alternative treatment for Ashya.

After the British prosecutors' announcement, British Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the news on his Twitter feed, saying: "It's important this little boy gets treatment & the love of his family."

Ashya's parents took him out of a hospital in Southampton, southern England, last week, in search of a different treatment.

The Kings are planning to sell their apartment in Malaga to fund proton beam therapy, an alternative to radiotherapy, for their son, according to their Spanish lawyer Juan Isidro Fernandez Diaz.

After the family left Britain with their seven children, police applied for an arrest warrant over fears that the condition of Ashya, who has undergone surgery and has to be fed through a special piece of equipment, could deteriorate.

- Situation 'not right' -

The parents were detained on Saturday but the case has prompted an outcry in Britain, where some 130,000 people signed a petition calling for the boy to be reunited with his parents.

Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said it was "not appropriate" to "throw the full force of the law" at Ashya's parents for their actions.

The chief of police in Hampshire, the force which originally applied for the arrest warrant, said that all involved needed to ask what was best for Ashya.

"It is my view as Chief Constable that the situation today is not right," said Andy Marsh in a statement.

"Irrespective of what has happened it is our view that Ashya needs both medical treatment and for his parents to be at his side."

Simon Hayes, Hampshire's police commissioner, raised questions about the information from the hospital which led to the application for an arrest warrant in the first place.

"In light of today's announcement by the CPS, I now need to be assured as to the quality of the information given by Southampton General Hospital to Hampshire Constabulary," he said.


© 2014 AFP

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