Legal twists and turns in the Ashya King case

8th September 2014, Comments 0 comments

The case of five-year-old Ashya King, who arrived at a Prague hospital for cancer treatment Monday, has been in and out of British and Spanish courts since his parents removed him from hospital without doctors' permission last month.

Here are details of the main legal instruments used in the case, which has raised emotive questions about parents' rights to choose treatment for their children in Britain.

British police, local authorities and the hospital have fended off public criticism saying that the international manhunt, which resulted eventually in the parents' original wishes being carried out, was carried out in the child's best interests.

Ward of court:

Ashya was made a ward of court in Britain after his parents took him without doctors' permission out of hospital in Southampton, southeast England, on August 28 where he had surgery to remove a brain tumour in July. Being made a ward of court is a rare situation in which the High Court in London is given ultimate responsibility for a child. No major step in their life can be taken without the court's permission. Ashya ceased to be a ward of court on Monday when he arrived at the hospital in Prague for an agreed course of treatment.

European Arrest Warrant:

British police applied for a European Arrest Warrant for Ashya's parents, Brett and Naghmeh, based on alleged neglect after they took him out of hospital. This is a fast-track system which helps European nations to track down wanted people in other EU states. Once a European Arrest Warrant is issued, authorities in EU countries must act to track the person involved down and begin extradition proceedings.

Interpol Yellow Notice:

International crime-fighting organisation Interpol issued an alert to try and find Ashya on August 29 following the request made by British police. This Yellow Notice is designed to find a person who cannot identify himself and is designed to help different police forces share information about crimes.


After Brett and Naghmeh King were arrested in Spain on August 30, they faced proceedings to extradite them, or send them home, from Spain to Britain to face possible prosecution. They were held in custody for four days. Following a public outcry, British prosecutors dropped the arrest warrant and extradition proceedings on September 2. This came as doctors in Britain agreed not to oppose the parents' decision to take Ashya for treatment in Prague, where he eventually arrived Monday.

© 2014 AFP

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