Ashya King: A Little Boy in the Middle of a Big Argument

Ashya King

The headline attracting case of parents being accused of kidnapping their own child in the UK is a strange one and certainly raises a few questions.

This is seemingly a loving family who’s child is terminally ill with a brain tumour. Realising that the hospital in England could offer them little hope they decided to go elsewhere to see if they could find the cure they so desperately need. The boy at the centre of the case, 5 year old Ashya King had an operation on his brain 10 days ago. The hospital told the parents that nothing more could be done.

The parents Brett and Naghemeh King, from Portsmouth asked for revolutionary treatment, available in the Czech Republic, that they had heard of, this was refused by the NHS. At this point they decided to take direct action and this is where the story gets complicated and intriguing. The hospital refused to discharge the boy and the parents simply took him and fled.

Ashya King
Ashya King with his Father, Brett

The hospital then brought the police in and a warrant was issued for kidnapping. Quite how anyone can interpret this as kidnapping is beyond me. Anyone has the legal right to discharge themselves from any hospital. Parents have full legal rights over their children to make medical and any other decision until the child reaches the age of 16. So legally, surely the parents have done nothing wrong.

To make matters worse they went to Spain to try and sell a property that they own there, to raise some of the £65,000 they need for the medical treatment. Issuing a warrant for their arrest, Interpol became involved and the couple were subsequently tracked down and arrested. They have refused to be extradited back to England to face charges and are now incarcerated in Spain, away from the little boy and his 6 brothers and sisters.

Some people will naturally jump in quick to accuse the child’s parents, but the fact is, they have acted with their child’s interest at heart. The fact that they disagree with the NHS is their absolute right. They feel that raising the money and taking their child to the Czech Republic gives Ashya, the best chance of recovery.

I find it astonishing that this case has progressed in this manner. Who amongst us wouldn’t try anything if told by doctors in our own country that our child had no hope? Who wouldn’t sell everything to try and find a cure and who wouldn’t ignore the hospital that was telling us to basically sit and wait for our child to die?

The situation is that this poor little boy now sits in a Malaga hospital, his parents are in the custody of the Spanish authorities and Ashya’s brother Naveed 20, says that the siblings cannot visit either parents or brother. Naveed said his parents had ensured that his brother had exactly the same resources available when they took him to Spain as were available at the hospital, including a chargeable power-chord for his feeding line.

Brother of Ashya King, Naveed
Naveed with the battery charger, crucial to Ashya’s care

Family friends have organised an online petition calling on British Prime Minister, Mr Cameron to step in. More than 48,000 people have already signed it. A public appeal in the Czech capital, Prague, for donations has raised more than £10,000.

This ridiculous situation needs to be sorted out quickly and the only sensible approach in my opinion is to release the parents, release Ashya and let this loving family get on with trying to save a little boy’s life.