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Spanish judge orders release of ill boy’s parents

SOTO DEL REAL, Spain — Spanish officials have ordered the immediate release of a detained British couple who were wanted by police in the United Kingdom after they took their critically ill child for treatment abroad without doctors’ consent.

The National Court in Madrid said in a statement that a judge decided to free the couple Tuesday after British authorities dropped the case against them.

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Brett and Naghemeh King were pursued by police after they took 5-year-old Ashya out of a hospital in southern England against doctors’ advice and traveled to Spain, where they planned to sell property to pay for proton beam radiation therapy in the Czech Republic or the United States.

They were arrested on a British warrant on suspicion of cruelty to a person under 16 years of age, and were being held at the Soto del Real prison, outside Madrid. Their son, who has a severe brain tumor, is in a hospital in Malaga.

The parents were detained Monday after a judge ruled they should be held while a Madrid court considered Britain’s extradition request, which was later revoked.

‘‘No further action will be taken against Mr. and Mrs. King and we are now in the process of communicating this decision to the Spanish authorities,’’ British prosecutors said in a statement earlier Tuesday, adding they were doing it so the family can be reunited as soon as possible.

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