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Warrant dropped against UK couple

September 2, 2014

British prosecutors have said they are withdrawing an arrest warrant against a UK couple who took their son out of the country in hopes of getting a new radiation therapy to treat his brain tumor.

Image: Reuters

The United Kingdom's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Tuesday that it was dropping the warrants against Brett and Naghemeh King.

"No further action will be taken against Mr. and Mrs. King and we are now in the process of communicating this decision to the Spanish authorities so that they can be reunited with their son as soon as possible," said CPS, which oversees criminal prosecutions in England and Wales.

Ashya King
Five-year-old Ashya KingImage: picture-alliance/Interpol handout

Later on Tuesday, a Spanish judge ordered the immediate release of the parents.

The British couple left Southampton General Hospital last week with their son, Ashya, without the consent of doctors. They then traveled to Spain, where they planned to sell their apartment in Malaga to raise funds for a new type of treatment called proton beam radiation therapy. The treatment is available in the Czech Republic and the United States.

They were arrested in Spain on a British warrant. Their son has been hospitalized in the region as he requires special feeding equipment due to his condition.

The case has gripped Britain, with heated debate as to whether authorities acted acceptably in pursuing the parents through Europe after they left the hospital.

Chief constable of Hampshire Police, Andy Marsh, said the intent of the authorities was to secure his safety, "not to deny his family support at this particularly challenging time in his life."

British Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the move on his Twitter feed:

Cameron had earlier told the radio station LBC that Ashya's case reminded him of his son Ivan, who died in 2009 at the age of six after suffering from cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

"I just hope there'll be an outbreak of common sense - and a rapid outbreak of common sense - so that the family can be reunited with this young boy and the best treatment can be given to him, either in the United Kingdom or elsewhere," he said.

hc/kms (AFP, AP)