A Spanish judge has ordered the detention for 72 hours of a British couple who took their critically ill five-year-old son abroad against doctors' advice.

A spokesman at the National Court in Madrid said the judge ruled the couple must be held while the court considers whether to grant Britain an extradition request. The judge could have opted to let the parents to go free while the case is considered.

The spokesman said Ashya King's parents told the judge they do not want to return to the UK.

They were arrested yesterday in south-eastern 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 tumour and is currently at a hospital in Spain.

The spokesman said the legal process also involves requesting the advice of Spanish doctors and translating legal documents deemed pertinent to the case.

It comes as bosses at Southampton General Hospital are today facing tough questions over the handling of Ashya’s case – and whether they overreacted.

Proceedings had been expected to get underway at 9.30am but they were put back at the last minute to wait for a private defence lawyer the parents have hired.

Daily Echo:

It is understoof that the lawyer (above) is coming from Seville more than 300 miles away.

They were arrested in Spain on Saturday evening when they were stopped by police who recognised the car.

Inside they found five-year-old Ashya, who did not appear to be in any distress.

His parents were arrested on suspicion of neglect and have since been seen handcuffed as they are dealt with by the authorities out there.

Meanwhile older brother Naveed has said the family have not been able to see Ashya at all.

He said: ''There is police standing outside his hospital room. We are not allowed to go and see him. We have tried to call the hospital but they are not revealing any information at all to us.

''Including taking care of all the kids, we're having to do the research ourselves to find out information.

"We're not getting anyone knocking on our door to tell us everything is OK. We've got lots of support from friends and family out here."

He added: "We wanted the best for Ashya and for us to know that now they've taken him away from us and maybe given him treatment that may not be best for him, it's quite heartbreaking."

Daily Echo:

Naveed King

Asked whether David Cameron sympathised with Ashya's parents, the Prime Minister's official spokesman told a regular Westminster media briefing: ''I think people up and down the country will understand and be moved by the grave illness from which Ashya is suffering.

''First and foremost, the priority must be that he receives the very best and most appropriate medical care.

''Of course, I am sure that every parent wants to do the best for their child. That is probably the most human of human instincts.''

It has been five days since Ashya was wheeled out of Southampton General Hospital but nobody has:

  • Explained why it took more than six hours to raise the alarm with police that a very sick young patient was missing;
  • Defended a senior consultant criticised publically by Ashya’s father Brett King in a video aired to millions, regarding the medical treatment required for his child;
  • Addressed the issue of whether they were too hasty and over-reacted, triggering an international police search;
  • Reassured Hampshire residents that there was not a lapse by staff charged with caring for a child who they said needed round-the-clock medical attention or else he might die.

They were questions being asked by thousands of people who took to social media sites to have their say throughout the weekend – many supporting Mr King after seeing his video posted on Facebook.

One city MP joined the chorus of concern, saying she will now be raising issues with the University Hospital Trust (UHS), which runs the hospital, about how the family have been “criminalised”.

In the video released by Ashya’s father, Brett King, he was critical of consultants and doctors who had treated his son, saying he had requested proton beam treatment for him but that had been refused.

Yesterday, UHS did not respond to Mr King’s claims or a number of questions posed by the Daily Echo – the second time they declined to respond to our enquiries.

Daily Echo: Southampton General Hospital, 2014

Southampton General Hospital

Instead they released a brief statement which said: “Our priority has always been Ashya’s welfare and we are delighted that he has been found. We are now working closely with colleagues in Malaga to ensure he receives the essential medical support he needs.

“We are aware of the comments made online by his father. Throughout Ashya’s admission we have had conversations about the treatment options available to him and we had offered the family access to a second opinion, as well as assistance with organising treatment abroad.

“We understand how distressing this situation is for everyone involved, particularly Ashya’s family. We will continue to do what we can to support them and assist the police in providing any information they require.”

But Romsey and Southampton North MP Caroline Nokes says she will be raising certain issues with the trust.

Daily Echo: Caroline Nokes

Romsey MP Caroline Nokes says she will raise issues with the trust over the Ashya case

She said: “I have received numerous emails both from constituents and those living further afield over the last 24 hours, expressing concern about the way the King family have been treated.

“However, I am not their MP and obviously I do not know all of the facts of the case. I think it would be very wrong of me to come to a knee jerk reaction, and whilst I have of course seen the YouTube footage, I am not a medical expert and certainly cannot judge what is in the best interests of Ashya.

“However, I do think the hospital has some questions to answer regarding the way this poor family, with a desperately ill child, have been effectively criminalised.

“And, as one of the local MPs, I will certainly be raising them with the trust.”

 Mrs King, who said police searched her home, said: ''They (the authorities) are the ones who are cruel because they have taken poor little Ashya who is dying of a brain tumour and they won't let the parents, my son and daughter-in-law, they won't let them see him at all.

''It's terrible, it is so cruel it is unbelievable.

She added: ''To try and make out that he has been neglected well. Why haven't we got any human rights? 

"They keep on, the EU, about human rights. Where are our human rights? We have got none.''