LONDON (AP) — The grandmother of a British boy with a severe brain tumor has accused UK authorities of cruelty for seeking an arrest warrant and pursuing the family abroad after his parents removed him from a British hospital against medical advice.
Patricia King told the BBC on Monday it was an “absolute disgrace” that her son and daughter-in-law were accused of child neglect after they took 5-year-old Ashya from Southhampton General Hospital last week. The family says UK authorities had refused to give Ashya the kind of treatment he needed.
The family has criticized Britain’s health care system, saying he needs an advanced treatment option called proton beam therapy and that it wasn’t being made available to him.
King’s parents were arrested Sunday in southeastern Spain after a European arrest warrant was issued by Interpol at the request of British police. Their son is receiving medical treatment for a brain tumor and after his parents’ arrest he was admitted to a Spanish hospital.
King says the authorities are “the ones who are cruel, because they have taken poor little Ashya, who is dying of a brain tumor, and they won’t let the parents, my son and daughter-in-law, they won’t let them see him at all.”
Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokesman also weighed in on the matter Monday, saying people all over the country have been moved by the family’s plight.
In Madrid, an extradition hearing for the parents was being held Monday.
Judge Ismael Moreno was expected to interview the parents and rule on whether they should go free or be held in jail while the court decides whether to extradite them, a court spokesman said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t allowed to be cited by name in the media.
British police say the parents, Brett and Naghemeh, are suspected of neglect.
Associated Press Writer Jorge Sainz contributed to this story.