LONDON (AP) — U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said Tuesday it was inappropriate to throw the full weight of the law at a couple who took their ill 5-year-old child to Spain in hope of getting a revolutionary type of radiation therapy for a brain tumor.
Clegg did not claim to be speaking for the government, and said it was up to police and prosecutors to decide how to proceed.
Clegg told the BBC his "heart goes out" to Brett and Naghemeh King.
"I personally think that throwing the full force of the law at Mr. and Mrs. King, who appear to be doing what they believe to be best for their own family, I don't think is an appropriate thing to do," Clegg said.
The couple took their son, Ashya, out of Southampton General Hospital last week and traveled to Spain, where they planned to sell a property to pay at least $33,000 for proton beam radiation therapy in the Czech Republic or the U.S. They were arrested on a British warrant, and are fighting extradition.
Spanish judge Ismael Moreno on Tuesday ordered the parents to appear in a closed-door court session Wednesday for his ruling on whether they can be released during extradition proceedings, said a court spokesman on condition of anonymity because of court rules preventing him from being named.
British prosecutors issued the warrant for an offense of cruelty to a person under the age of 16 years, hours after the Southampton hospital realized Ashya was gone. The hospital has said more conventional methods have a very high chance of succeeding.
Sainz reported from Madrid. Sylvia Hui and Danica Kirka in London contributed to this report.