herald

Sunday 16 December 2018

Parents reunited with ill Ashya as €151k is raised

The parents of Ashya King have been reunited with their sick son at a Spanish hospital.

Brett and Naghmeh King saw the five-year-old brain tumour patient yesterday for the first time since they were arrested on Saturday.

But it was reported that they would not be permitted to remove the child from the hospital.

A spokeswoman for the Materno-Infantil hospital in Malaga, where Ashya is being treated, said local authorities had received notification from British officials that the parents should not be allowed to take the boy away.

Barred

The reunion initially appeared to be in doubt when Mr King claimed he would be barred from visiting the child after he was made a ward of court, but it was established that those proceedings do not stop the couple seeing him.

Speaking as he entered the hospital surrounded by a throng of media, Mr King said: "We have come to see him but they won't let me see him.

"If I see him, then they will arrest me."

Ashya was temporarily made a ward of court last week.

But at a hearing in the British High Court yesterday, Mr Justice Baker expressed concerns that the child was separated from his parents and no objections had been raised to the couple seeing him.

Earlier the couple spoke about their ordeal for the first time since they were freed from Soto del Real prison.

They were released after British authorities abandoned their attempts to extradite them amid a public backlash.

Mrs King said she had been "crying and crying" as she described the torment of being unable to help her son from the jail cell near Madrid where she and her husband have been detained since they were arrested.

She told the BBC: "What could I do in a prison cell? I was just praying so I could be reunited with him again. All I could do was just cry and pray."

Mr King said his heart was "aching" to see Ashya again and hit out at their treatment since they removed him from Southampton General Hospital almost a week ago, saying they had been "treated like terrorists".

David Cameron told MPs that decisions taken in Ashya's case were "not correct".

Authorities

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, he said: "To be fair to the authorities involved in the case of Ashya King, they all want to do the best for the child. That's what they are thinking of."

Earlier the Proton Therapy Centre in the Czech Republic claimed it had been sent Ashya's medical records and believed the technique was suitable for him.

A fundraising page set up to help pay for the treatment has so far raised more than €26,000, while Charity Kids'n'CancerUK said they have agreed to pay the €125,000 needed for Ashya's treatment, plus living costs, after a donor pledged €31,000 in 24 hours.

Chief executive Mike Hyman said: "I have spoken to Ashya's brother, Naveed, and he is dead chuffed."

hnews@herald.ie

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