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NEWS

Ashya King's parents arrested and facing extradition after seeking treatment abroad for critically ill son

editor - September 1, 2014


The already tragic situation of critically ill 5 year old, Ashya King, has now been made more so by his separation from his two loving parents, who have recently been arrested and are facing extradition. Yet this is the outcome of events that were set in motion when Hampshire police decided to obtain a European Arrest Warrant and start an international police hunt.
Arrest Warrants were designed to be used to “prosecute” a person, when a country is ready to charge and try them. Indeed, the UK Government recently brought in new laws to stop Warrants being used too early in a criminal investigation after high-profile cases of people being extradited before any decision had been made to charge them or years before their trial was due to start. In this case it appears that no decision had been made to prosecute Brett and Naghemeh King with neglect (the basis of the Warrant) but, in the words of Hampshire police, “[it] purely gives us the power to arrest and then we will be able to speak to them”.
There seems little doubt that everyone involved in this case has had Ashya King’s best interests at heart. But, as is so often the case, there can be many different interpretations of what this requires (no doubt the capacity of the case to divide opinion is part of the reason it has become such a media storm) and the best way to achieve it. It is hard, however, to see how arresting and possibly extraditing Ashya’s parents could possibly be the right way to realise Ashya's best interests.
The best time to answer the many difficult questions raised by this case is no doubt in the cold light of day: when Ashya is receiving the best medical care possible and after he has been reunited with his parents. High amongst the list of questions must, however, be whether an Arrest Warrant was the right tool to reach for or whether there were other, less severe ways of finding Ashya and his family.

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