Family Supports Ashya
What a disaster the last few days have been for Ashya!
In a story that hits too close to home, 5 year old Ashya King from the UK was the center of a social media storm beginning in a city called Southampton, 75 miles southwest of London, to a Spanish hospital in Malaga, Spain, 1000 miles away.
When the story broke that the parents of Ashya had “snatched” him from a hospital (yes, mainstream media jumped on this idea of parents kidnapping their child, line-hook-and-reel), an international manhunt with involvement from Interpol resulted in Ashya’s parents imprisonment, without clear charge, under a misused European Arrest Warrant (EAW) according to legal experts, and in a notorious Spanish prison located over 300 miles away from the Spanish hospital that Ashya was taken to.
Ashya by the way is the 5 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. King who recently had a brain tumor removed and whose parents and siblings had endured the grueling experience of watching their treatment wishes ignored by doctors who Mr. King says threatened to make Ashya a ward of the court if his parents did not abide by their medical opinion. Left without options and cornered, the Kings tried to sort things out by seeking the best and latest treatment not yet available in the UK on their own. Traveling to Spain with Ashya, on their way to sell property in Spain so that they could pay for proton beam therapy which is considered less harmful and with fewer side affects than traditional X-ray radiation, the local authorities caught up to them, arrested Mr. and Mrs. King and seperated them from young Ashya – an experience that is barbaric to anyone with children and especially to those who have been through the hospital system and had to deal with doctors who do not like to be questioned. No, all doctors are not like this and there are many excellent ones who do respect the wishes of their patients or guardians, but unfortunately there are still too many moved by ego.
The bigger issues surrounding this case will be dealt with in court, but at least today, the Kings are reunited as a family after so much support.
Naveed, brother to Ashya, did a remarkable job with posting YouTube videos that presented the family’s side of the story.
The hospital and mainstream media had everyone believing that the Kings kidnapped their son from a hospital because of religious reasons and thanks to the police, plastered their photos (mug-shot-like) across the internet and social media channels. They told us that the feeding machine needed and used by Ashya required a battery that would die out soon and could not be easily charged without some expertise in its removal.
This video probably did the most to change what happened on social media though: UPDATE ON ASHYA KING! .
When the public witnessed a loving father’s plea to stop this manhunt and saw the precautions that the family took to keep Ashya safe along with a clearly working feeding machine, the public began to realize that the original story against the Kings was manipulated.
After the video was taken, Mr. and Mrs. King were arrested. Extradition charges were in play and the Kings were moved to Madrid to appear before the High Court. A judge placed them in prison for up to 72 hours so that a decision could be made.
Naveed, followed up with another video showing us all again the precautions that they had taken in moving Ashya.
Public opinion weighed in and while it was loud across the different social media channels, it was an absolute ROAR on Twitter.
Tweets flew across timelines demanding that the Kings be released from prison and reunited with Ashya. Public opinion was strongly in favor of the Kings and compassionate toward the parents of Ashya who were seeking the best medical treatment available for him.
A Change.org petition started by friend Ethan Dallas collected over 250,000 signatures and was delivered to Downing Street.
On Twitter, that petition was flying all over the timelines from folks who wanted the Kings reunited. Friends and communities everywhere were touched by this tragedy and helped distribute the petition while continuing to tweet to anyone who had some pull in the matter asking that they exercise their authority on behalf of the Kings. Anon_OpSK was determined with their tweeting to get others involved while spreading the facts, along with so many others.
Eventually both the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister publicly declared that they wanted to see the Kings reunited.
My heart does go out to them [Ashya’s parents] and I’m like any parent.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg
But I think what happened was that decisions were taken that weren’t correct and didn’t chime with a sense of common sense. That, fortunately, has been put right.
Prime Minister David Cameron
And so the Kings were released from prison after a Spanish judge ordered their immediate release when it was clear that the UK would not seek extradition after the Crown Prosecution Service blogged and tweeted this response: http://blog.cps.gov.uk/2014/09/statement-on-brett-and-naghemeh-king.html
On Twitter, it’s interesting to see the various conversations take place that just don’t happen on other platforms the way they do on Twitter. Right now the issue of guardianship is being discussed because the hospital sought out an order that Ashya become a ward of the court last week. This still needs to be overturned. Today, the judge in the case did not wish to make any medical decisions without the parents input and the proceedings were live-tweeted. Also, the Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Donna Jones, (the jurisdiction where this unfolds) has been tweeting her attempts to get the ward of court ruling undone. The hospital is probably the most responsible for the start of this and misleading the authorities but that will get sorted out later.
When asked about the ordeal, what’s there to say? All that you can do in prison is cry and pray according to Ashya’s mother. Mr. King just wanted to understandably see his son after enduring a prison cell, separated from his wife and son, and having to hear his wife’s tears while not being able to comfort her.
What’s important today, after receiving so much support from family, communities and complete strangers, along with many prayers is this: