Ashya King's parents 'should not have been locked up in a foreign country for caring about their child'

The European Arrest Warrant is draconian legislation


There are so many questions asked by the Ashya King story, not least about NHS oncology and if our services are up to scratch. I have been on the receiving end of cancer treatment, albeit many years ago, when there weren’t the treatment options available that are available now, and I know that we have ground to make up in this regard if we are to improve our survival rates in the UK.

But, without being a professional in the field, it’s very difficult to really know the ins and outs of this child’s medical case.

What I do know is that Brett and Naghmeh's unhappiness over their child’s treatment plan turned into an international manhunt, after an emergency protection order requested by the hospital. A sick child was unnecessarily separated from his parents – who evidently would do anything for him – and an international warrant put out for their arrest, on grounds of neglect.

Instead of a reasonable, sensitive response, a piece of legislation was activated which only sees cases in black and white. The end result was Mr and Mrs King being handcuffed and separated from their seriously ill child.

The European Arrest Warrant isn’t like any previous extradition treaties we have had across the decades. On the say so of a judge in one of the EU member countries, people can be chased across borders – without any prima facie evidence – and placed in custody until the legal system decides what to do with them. This was legislation designed to catch terrorists. It hardly works for that, and it certainly doesn’t work when dealing with a complex situation involving a sick child and parents who wanted to seek medical treatment outside of their local hospital.

Faced with a court order, Hampshire Police started the process of searching for the family outside of the UK’s borders, where they don’t have jurisdiction. But instead of using the international means available to locate the family, check that the child was as well as can be expected given his condition, and bring them back to the UK – the parents were put in a cell by Spanish police.

Read more: The PR fiasco surrounding Ashya King and his parents was caused by a breakdown in relations
What would you have done if you were in Ashya's parents's situation?  

People in the UK started to wonder why the law was being so heavy handed. Hampshire Police went to great lengths to stress that criminal charges had not been brought, and nor were they saying that any crime had been committed. In the end it took the intervention of the Prime Minister, and other senior figures voicing their concerns, about the ongoing imprisonment of the Kings to secure their release.

But the European Arrest Warrant is an incredibly harsh measure to employ – and consequently it requires the intervention of politicians to try to inject some humanity and common sense into proceedings.

I am proud of the history of fairness and the common law which made this country a leading light over the centuries: carrying the beacon for free trade, abolishing slavery and, as we remember in this centenary year, defending democratic values at the cost of millions of lives.

Which is why this draconian legislation is so alien to our system of law and fairness. We do not expect loving parents to be locked up in a foreign country for caring about their child. This case has set a very worrying precedent. It questions the authority parents have over their own child – and the extent to which the state can interfere.


Calais Mayor should know who makes our laws

The Mayor of Calais has criticised the UK’s immigration policy. She says it has encouraged illegal migration, resulting in her town being burdened with insanitary camps as groups of wannabe immigrants make their base there.

She has claimed that our policy makes the UK seem like “El Dorado” to immigrants – but what she seems to be forgetting is that we don’t have our own immigration policy any more. Ours is the same as France, as Spain, as Poland. It’s just that we have a very generous social security system which encourages migration as well as the additional bonus of English being the most global language.

We have seen from latest migration figures that there is no way the Coalition is going to meet the targets it set itself – and they were only controlling non-EU numbers! But that was always inevitable given the free movement of people which is demanded by any member country of the EU. Don’t forget we can’t deny entry to murderers and rapists without breaching Brussels rules.

I can see why the Mayor of Calais has a problem with these camps – I think that anyone would. But her ire should be directed to Brussels – not to Britain – since that is where these rules are made.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Ashdown Group: Senior .Net Developer - Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A long-established, technology rich ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Project Manager

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This growing digital marketing ...

Recruitment Genius: Electrical Quality Supervisor

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Midland's leading Solar Panels provi...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Dame Maggie Smith stars in Downtown Abbey as Countess Violet  

We need to see Maggie Smith and Michael Gambon on stage again

David Lister
Women in India protest against rape and other attacks on women and girls in the country.  

India is ready for the truth about its shocking state of gender equality — but its politicians aren’t

Manveena Suri
Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable