FRIENDS of Ashya King’s family were today due to take the fight to protect his parents’ freedom to Downing Street.
A petition signed by more than 70,000 campaigners against Brett and Naghemeh King’s proposed extradition to the UK was to be handed into Number 10.
It calls on Prime Minister David Cameron to ensure the couple’s release and allow them to find alternative treatment for their son’s brain tumour.
Supporters are dismayed Ashya’s parents are in police custody while the five-year-old is monitored at a Spanish hospital under police surveillance.
Ethan Dallas, 16, a close friend of Ashya’s brother Naveed, 20, set up the online petition and was due to make the visit to London with his uncle and family friend Sanjay Ganatra.
Speaking to The News, Ethan, of Waterlooville, said: ‘With the position the family are in, they need the public behind them.
‘They have been through so much, what with having a child with a brain tumour in the first place and then having the police after them.
‘All I am looking for is the authorities to release them, let them go and let them choose what treatment they think is right and back off.’
As reported, Mr and Mrs King, of Southsea, left the UK with the five-year-old on Friday after taking him out of Southampton General Hospital the day before.
Following an international search for the couple, they were arrested in Malaga.
A High Court judge in Madrid has permitted them a maximum of 72 hours in police custody, and a hearing over their extradition to the UK – where they could face prosecution – was due to take place today.
Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock has labelled the family’s treatment ‘ludicrous’ and has asked British police to show compassion.
He said: ‘I have contacted the chief constable of Hampshire police and the police and crime commissioner, asking them to ensure that the case is looked at very sympathetically as far as they are able to, and Ashya is reunited with his parents as quickly as possible.
‘While there might have been some uncertainty initially, it has become clear that his parents have been acting in his best interests to try and get him the best possible medical treatment.’
Naveed has criticised the way his family have been treated.
He said in a TV interview: ‘We’re not allowed to go and see Ashya at all.
‘There are police standing outside his hospital room.’
Ashya’s family are seeking a certain type of treatment called proton beam therapy to treat his medulloblastoma, which is not available on the NHS. It is expected to cost £100,000.
To donate, visit justgiving.com/Ashya-King-Proton-Beam-Treatment
Law firm seeking to challenge warrant use
A LAW firm is eager to get in touch with Ashya King’s parents as they believe the warrant issued for their arrest was not used appropriately.
TV Edwards says it appears Hampshire police have used the warrant to track down and question the family, rather than to pursue a prosecution.
The London-based firm says it means it could challenge the use of the warrant at the High Court.
If successful, it would stop the King family being sent back to the UK, with Ashya potentially remaining in a foreign hospital.
Ben Keith, head of TV Edwards’ extradition team, said: ‘The warrant has to be issued for the purpose of prosecution, but it seems the police have said “we just want to question them”.
‘If that’s why they want it for, that is not an appropriate use of the warrant.’
The law says anyone aged 16 or over has the right to refuse treatment unless they are deemed to not have the mental capacity to make that decision.
Consent from a person with parental responsibility is also needed for children under 16, unless it is decided that they have enough understanding of what their treatment and any refusal of it means.
If a person with parental responsibility refuses treatment and medics think the decision could lead to death or severe, permanent injury, a court order can be made to overrule that decision.
NHS health trusts have committees which can consider treatment disputes on a case by case basis. Patients and/or their legal guardians can also apply for a judicial review if this fails.
Meanwhile, Sarah Lindsell, chief executive of The Brain Tumour Charity, says the separation of Ashya from his parents was ‘fundamentally and morally unacceptable’.
Police commissioner defends force over actions
SIMON Hayes has defended Hampshire police’s actions in seeking to find Ashya and his family.
Hampshire Constabulary obtained a European Arrest Warrant for the Kings’ arrest on the grounds they neglected their son as he was under specialist care.
Despite criticism over its use, Mr Hayes said the CPS and a district judge signed off on the warrant looking at all the evidence.
Mr Hayes also said a High Court judge made Ashya a ward of court in separate proceedings, meaning he is under the care of a juvenile court and not his parents.
He said: ‘Arrest warrants aren’t issued on the whim of a Hampshire police officer.
‘Had the police not acted in the way that they did to safeguard a very sick young boy they could have been accused of being negligent.’ He said the force should not be referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission over its handling of the search.