Britain’s deputy prime minister called Tuesday for five-year-old brain tumor patient Ashya King to be reunited with his parents after the couple spent a second night jailed in Spain. A Europe-wide arrest warrant was issued for Brett and Naghemeh King after they removed their son from a British hospital, against the wishes of doctors, and traveled through France to Spain.
The pair said they removed Ashya because the hospital would not allow them to have proton beam therapy - a procedure not available to patients of Britain’s National Health Service. The boy, who needs a feeding tube, is being kept under police guard at a hospital in the southern city of Malaga. Neither his parents, who are 300 miles away in Madrid, nor his siblings are able to visit him. A judge ruled Monday that the parents will remain in custody for up to 72 hours while he considers granting bail. Police and prosecutors are facing a public backlash over their handling of the case; more than 115,000 people signed a petition Tuesday calling for the couple to be released.
"It seems to me...that Mr and Mrs King are in a state of great anguish and have taken this exceptional step of removing their child from hospital and going elsewhere because that's what they think is right for their child,” Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said. "We can debate whether we think that's right or not but that's clearly their motive and I don't think that kind of motive is the reason why we should be throwing the full force of the law at them.” Clegg added: "I do want to see the family reunited and I think it is awful Ashya is in a hospital on his own."