The British parents who sparked a major manhunt by taking their seriously ill son out of hospital last week have asked a Spanish court not to extradite them to the United Kingdom, a judicial source said overnight (NZ time).
Brett and Naghemeh King are wanted in the United Kingdom after removing their son Ashya, 5, who is suffering from a brain tumour, from Southampton General Hospital in southern England on Thursday, raising fears his life could be at risk.
"They have said they don't want to be handed over to the British authorities," the source told Reuters.
At a hearing overnight, a Madrid judge remanded the parents in custody for a maximum of 72 hours, pending a second hearing.
Judge Ismael Moreno ordered the urgent handing over of reports from the Malaga hospital now looking after Ashya on the state of his health and the translation of reports being submitted to the Madrid court by the parents.
A panel of three judges will now have to decide whether to extradite the parents to the United Kingdom from Madrid, a process which could take weeks, said the source.
The removal of Ashya from the Southampton hospital sparked a major appeal across several countries to find the child as fears grew he would not receive the medical treatment he needed.
He and his parents were eventually tracked to the south of Spain, where they were arrested. The boy was transferred to hospital in Malaga.
Ashya's family have said they took him to Spain because they wanted him to receive a different type of treatment, prompting questions whether the British police over-reacted in launching a Europe-wide manhunt.
"The treatment that my son and daughter in law and Ashya have received is beyond cruelty," his grandmother Patricia King told BBC TV on Monday. "A little boy, dying from a brain tumour, taken away from his parents who have been with him every minute of every day. My view is that it is unbelievable."