Latest: Alfie Evans gets Italian citizenship as fight for treatment continues

Update 7.40pm: Terminally ill toddler Alfie Evans has been granted Italian citizenship as his family continues to fight against the withdrawal of his life support.

The 23-month-old was granted citizenship by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday.

Parents Tom Evans and Kate James, both in their early 20s and from Liverpool, hope to take their son to a hospital in Rome for treatment.

Parents Tom Evans and Kate James

The couple have already lost fights in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and ECHR.

Speaking outside Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool, Mr Evans said: "I'm stood here now and Alfie is still here.

"Why? Because I'm still fighting for him, I'm still fighting and so is Alfie.

"I have been in touch with the Ambassador of Italy.

"My son belongs to Italy. I love Alfie and I love Kate, I will not give up."

Pavel Stroilov from the Christian Legal Centre, which is representing the family, said: "Italy has just granted citizenship to Alfie and the Italian ambassador has urgently contacted the court with a request for the Italian government to be allowed to intervene in the case and seek the return of their citizen Alfie Evans to Italy."

A source close to the Evans family claimed Mr Justice Hayden, who originally ordered life-support be withdrawn, would hold an urgent telephone conference with Italian legal representatives on Monday evening to discuss Alfie's plight.

Earlier on Monday, supporters of the family attempted to storm Alder Hey Children's Hospital after European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) judges refused to intervene in the case.

They had broken away from a larger group of about 200 protesters, some who earlier blocked the road outside the children's hospital.

As they ran towards the main doors a squad of police officers scrambled to block their way, forming a line to repel the intruders.

After a tense stand-off the crowd re-joined other protesters further from the hospital.

Police remained outside the entrances to the children's hospital throughout the day.

In February, Mr Justice Hayden ruled that doctors at Alder Hey could stop treating Alfie against the wishes of his parents following hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London and Liverpool.

Specialists at Alder Hey said life support treatment should stop and Mr Justice Hayden said he accepted medical evidence which showed that further treatment was futile.

He said flying Alfie to a foreign hospital would be wrong and pointless.

Court of Appeal judges upheld his decisions. Supreme Court justices and ECHR judges refused to intervene.

The couple argued Alfie was being wrongly "detained" at Alder Hey and made a habeas corpus application, which was dismissed by Mr Justice Hayden.

Appeal judges upheld Mr Justice Hayden's decision and on Friday Supreme Court justices said they would not intervene.

Judges have approved plans for withdrawing treatment and bringing Alfie's life to an end.

Alfie's parents Kate James and Tom Evans.

Earlier: Alfie Evans' parents pin all hope on European Court of Human Rights

European human rights judges are considering a plea from the parents of 23-month-old Alfie Evans who has been at the centre of two rounds of a life-support treatment fight.

Tom Evans and Kate James, who are both in their early 20s and from Liverpool, failed on Friday to persuade Supreme Court justices to consider their case.

They have now asked judges at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, France, to intervene.

A spokesman for the ECHR said on Monday that the couple were arguing that their son was being "deprived" of his liberty.

He said judges were considering the couple's application as a matter of "urgency".

Alfie's parents have already lost one round of fights, in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and ECHR.

In February, Mr Justice Hayden ruled that doctors at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool could stop treating Alfie against the wishes of his parents following hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London and Liverpool.

Specialists at Alder Hey said life-support treatment should stop and Mr Justice Hayden said he accepted medical evidence which showed that further treatment was futile.

Alfie's parents want to move their son from Alder Hey to a hospital in Rome.

The couple said Italian doctors are willing to treat the little boy and an air ambulance is available.

But Mr Justice Hayden said flying Alfie to a foreign hospital would be wrong and pointless.

Court of Appeal judges upheld his decisions.

Supreme Court justices and ECHR judges refused to intervene.

The couple are now arguing that Alfie is being wrongly "detained" at Alder Hey and have made a habeas corpus application.

A writ of habeas corpus - Latin for "you may have the body" - is a legal manoeuvre which requires a court to examine the legality of a detention.

It is a piece of common law which probably dates back to Anglo-Saxon times.

Mr Justice Hayden has dismissed that habeas corpus claim.

Appeal judges have upheld Mr Justice Hayden's decision and on Friday Supreme Court justices said they would not intervene.

Judges have approved plans for withdrawing treatment and bringing Alfie's life to an end.

On Friday Supreme Court justices said there should be no further delay in treatment being stopped.

But Alfie's parents made another application to the ECHR.

- PA


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