HOME SCHOOLING / INTERNATIONAL
Sweden
Sweden

November 5, 2013

HSLDA Asks for Help for Swedish Family


Contact Officials

Christer Johansson has suggested that contacting local officials could help his family at this time. HSLDA is requesting that emails or calls go to:

Hanna Westeren
Gotland Regional Council member
hanna.westeren@gotland.se
Her phone numbers are:
+46-498-26 93 01 +46-70 447 7384

Christina Godarve
Head of the Gotland social services board
christina.godarve@gotland.se

Those who communicate with Ms. Westeren may want to make the point that the treatment of the family is inhumane, and that she should do all she can in her power to correct this injustice.

HSLDA also suggests member and friends consider contacting the editor of the local newspapers, Gotland Tindingar and Gotland Allehanda, and ask the editors to investigate the case. The respective editors can be emailed at redaktion@gotlandstidningar.se. and redaktion@gotlandsallehanda.se.

Posting thoughts on the Facebook pages of these local newspapers may make more people aware of this tragedy on their island and encourage citizens and the media to do more about it. The Facebook page of Gotland Tindingar is https://www.facebook.com/GotlandsTidningar and Goland Allehanda is: https://www.facebook.com/GotlandsAllehanda

The trials of Swedish parents Annie and Christer Johannson, bereft of their son Domenic for four years, represent the worst nightmare of any parent—state seizure of a child and then forced adoption

In 2009 Domenic was taken from his parents for the flimsiest of reasons under the most dramatic of circumstances. On June 26 police raided a Turkish airliner ready to take off, seizing the boy.

Although school was not in session when the seizure occurred, the parents had been in disagreement with local authorities over the issue of home education. However, when they went to court and disclosed their plans to emigrate, the court took note without any conditions. But, when the parents boarded the plane with the intention of moving back to the Annie’s homeland of India, authorities on the isolated and parochial island of Gotland asked Stockholm police to intervene and take the child. Although no warrant or court action authorized the seizure, officials have kept the couple’s only son for over four years.

For over two years the parents have had absolutely zero contact with their son.

Overruled

Although subsequent medical investigations revealed Domenic had some cavities and had not received all recommended vaccinations, no legitimate justification has ever been produced to defend the seizure or the ongoing custody of the boy. An appeals court took away permanent guardianship of Domenic in December 2012, reversing a lower court ruling that cited substantial evidence from eye witnesses who testified that the parents were kind, loving and fully capable of taking care of their only son. The judge in that case determined it was in the child’s best interests for permanent guardianship remain with the parents.

Although the psychological damage to the parents and the child would seem incalculable and the violation of human rights extreme, recent changes in the local political situation have given the couple a glimmer of hope.

Christer Johansson told HSLDA that he is trying to get local authorities to investigate the case for misconduct and abuse of authority.

“The local social welfare board has inflicted damage on our family and others,” he said. “I am hopeful that some of our local politicians will look more closely into these abuses and take action to correct these injustices. We have been without our only son for so long it is incredibly difficult for us. Especially my wife, whose health has been severely damaged by this ordeal. We are so grateful for the thoughts, prayers and intervention of others from abroad.”


Mike Donnelly
Staff Attorney Michael Donnelly is director of international affairs for HSLDA. He and his wife homeschool.

HSLDA has followed the case of Annie and Christer Johansson and, in conjunction with the Alliance Defending Freedom, submitted multiple applications to the European Court of Human Rights. So far these applications have been ignored.

Rights Violation

“The seizure of the child without a valid court order from a plane he was lawfully entitled to be on, the detention by the state in foster care with virtually zero contact with his family and finally the termination of parental rights is a clear violation of international human rights standards,” said HSLDA Founder and Chairman Michael Farris who holds a master of laws degree in public international law from the University of London.

HSLDA’s international lawyer, Michael Donnelly, also denounced the treatment of the Johanssons.

“Such callous disregard by courts, agencies and even elected officials sounds like a totalitarian regime from bygone communist days not Sweden,” he said. “The anguish this family has suffered is immeasurable. Their son is alive but dead to them and why? Because some government bureaucrat didn't like homeschooling? Astounding.”

Roger Kiska, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom and director of ADF’s European Office agreed.

“The treatment this family has received is inhumane,” he said. “The fact that only one Swedish court has ruled in their favor is hard to understand. Criminals are treated with more humanity than the Johansson family. We will continue to seek review of this horrible situation in international courts and tribunals until justice is done.”

Johansson has suggested that contacting local officials could be helpful at this time. HSLDA is requesting that emails or calls go to:

Hanna Westeren
Gotland Regional Council member
hanna.westeren@gotland.se
Her phone numbers are:
+46-498-26 93 01 +46-70 447 7384

Christina Godarve
Head of the Gotland social services board
christina.godarve@gotland.se

Those who communicate with Ms. Westeren may want to make the point that the treatment of the family is inhumane, and that she should do all she can in her power to correct this injustice.

HSLDA also suggests member and friends consider contacting the editor of the local newspapers, Gotland Tindingar and Gotland Allehanda, and ask the editors to investigate the case. The respective editors can be emailed at redaktion@gotlandstidningar.se. and redaktion@gotlandsallehanda.se.

Posting thoughts on the Facebook pages of these local newspapers may make more people aware of this tragedy on their island and encourage citizens and the media to do more about it. The Facebook page of Gotland Tindingar is https://www.facebook.com/GotlandsTidningar and Goland Allehanda is: https://www.facebook.com/GotlandsAllehanda

 More Information

For more information about the case and how you can support the family please visit our Johansson homepage.