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Storm rages as cancer boy parents battle extradition

By Paul Peachey

The parents of a gravely-ill child will be held for up to three days in Spanish custody while a judge decides whether to grant bail.

The couple are fighting extradition over suspected neglect after they spirited their five-year-old son, Ashya, away from a British hospital.

The decision to arrest Brett King (51), and his wife Naghmeh (45) on a European arrest warrant was fiercely debated last night.

The couple remain separated from their son and are opposing their removal from Spain back to the UK in a legal battle that could last months.

Police were accused by the family of heavy-handedness over treatment of the Kings, who were arrested on Saturday.

They had taken Ashya from Southampton General Hospital last Thursday without the consent of his doctors, who warned the battery-operated machine feeding him was likely to have run flat.

The couple were found in Malaga – having reportedly travelled to Spain to sell a holiday home to obtain funds for proton beam therapy, which is not available through the NHS – and Ashya is now being treated in a Spanish hospital.

The family complained British doctors did not listen to their views and that they were now being stopped from visiting Ashya.

The boy's brother Naveed told Channel 4 News: "We're not allowed to go and see Ashya at all. There is police standing outside his hospital room. We are not allowed to go and see him. We have tried to call the hospital but they are not revealing any information at all to us."

Mr King's mother Patricia King told the BBC: "They [the authorities] are the ones who are cruel because they have taken poor little Ashya, who is dying of a brain tumour, and they won't let the parents – my son and daughter-in-law – they won't let them see him at all.

"It's terrible, it is so cruel it is unbelievable.Where are our human rights? We have got none," she said.

Television footage yesterday showed Mr and Mrs King being taken to and from the court in Velez-Malaga. Both appeared to be handcuffed.

Mr King could be heard saying: "We just want the best for Ashya," while his wife repeated that they just want the "best treatment" for their son.

In a video blog posted on YouTube, Mr King said he had pleaded for proton beam therapy to be used to treat his son but had been told that it would be of no benefit for Ashya's condition.

Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead, of Hampshire police, said he would rather be criticised for "being proactive" than "potentially having to explain why a child has lost his life".

The Kings had been seeking a specialist proton therapy treatment for Ashya that had not been offered to them in the UK.

The Proton Therapy Centre (PTC) in Prague confirmed it was able to treat Ashya immediately if he was eligible for therapy, with the cost of the treatment to be sorted out later.

Director of strategy Iva Tatounova said Naveed had been in touch with the centre yesterday, giving details of the Spanish doctors treating Ashya, and saying they were willing to send the centre the result of his MRI scan.

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