Domenic, now 10 after his recent birthday, has been separated from his parents two and a half years, following his abduction by Social Services while seated in a commercial airliner with his parents awaiting departure on a flight to India.
Domenic is a citizen of India, and his mother’s family all live in India. However, Swedish Social Services in Domenic’s home town of Gottland decided to prevent the family’s departure in order to force the boy to attend their school.
The family had received no preliminary warning, nor they had been forbidden from leaving the country. They had also not been accused of breaking the law. Indeed, the only complaint the Swedish Social Services had against the family at the time was that they wanted to homeschool.
Throughout the ordeal the rights of the parents have not been respected and they have not even been allowed to choose their own legal representation.
The HSLDA and ADF have been trying to bring the case before the European Court of Human Rights. However, Social workers have been discussing allowing Domenic’s foster family to take him to visit Thailand while World Net Daily reported on 7 October that Gotland Social Services have been seeking to officially terminate all remaining parental rights.
Christian Voice Members will receive information in our next newsletter about the protests we have planned, and other ways that you can help reunite Domenic with his parents.
Summary of the Domenic Saga
The tragic saga began the year before when Domenic was six and his father, Christer Johannson, contacted the Swedish Ministry of Education to inquire about home education.
Christer Johannson is Swedish, while his wife, Annie Johansson, is a citizen of India. Because they were planning on relocating to India soon to be with Annie’s family, Christer thought it would be best to homeschool Domenic during the interim. While Christians, the parents were not committed to homeschooling for ideological reasons and had even planned on putting their son in the public school once they reached India.
Annie has two Masters Degrees and is highly qualified in the task of educating her son. Moreover, homeschooling was not illegal in Sweden at the time.
When Mr. Johansson got in touch with the Swedish Ministry of Education to inquire about home education, the Ministry told him to contact his local school principal in order to obtain the necessary curriculum. However, when Mr. Johannson contacted the principal of the nearest public school, the principal refused to provide the materials, saying “You don’t have the right to educate your son and I will be taking this further.”
What the principal meant by “taking it further” was that the family would be reported to the social services. Mr. Johansson didn’t know that at the time, but he did know that the Ministry of Education, Swedish law and Europe’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights all allowed them to homeschool. So he and Annie began homeschooling Domenic.
Officials at the local school district were furious about this and called Mr. Johansson before a hearing of the Child and Education Department.
During the hearing Mr. Johansson explained to the judge that the family was planning on relocating to India in six weeks to be with Annie’s family. It did not make sense to keep Domenic in the state school only to withdraw him shortly afterwards. The judge replied, “Ok, fine” and asked for the date of travel.
No court order was issued prohibiting the family from leaving the country. Domenic is a dual citizen of Sweden and India and had every right to accompany his parents on the move. Thus, Christer and Annie were shocked when the authorities boarded the airliner and forcibly removed Domenic.
Social Services’ only purpose in removing Domenic from the airplane was to prevent him moving to India where he would be outside the jurisdiction of the Swedish state schools. He was not truant from school at the time because it was summer break. As the Alliance Defence fund have pointed out in their application of appeal to the European Court of Human Rights:
“Domenic Johansson was removed from that plane only because social services believed it knew better than his parents what was in Domenic’s best interest; a belief steeped in discrimination against their religious and philosophical beliefs with regard to Domenic’s upbringing and education…Swedish officials removed this boy from an international flight solely to prevent his parents from moving to another nation and from educating him in a manner that is lawful in India, in Sweden, and in a majority of nations…
“please let me come home”
For the Johansson family, that was just the beginning of their troubles. After having their son snatched from their custody, the immediate problem was how to get Domenic back.
Christer and Annie were only able to visit their son, now in foster care, for one hour every five weeks.
They soon faced a new dilemma. The visits with their son were allowed to continue but only on the condition that they pretend to their son that they did not want him to come home with them and were happy for him to be in foster care. Social Services said they would lose visitation rights forever if they did not keep up the pretense.
During every visit there was always a social worker in the room, listening to every word and taking notes.
I interviewed a man who spoke to Christer last September when this was going on. He said:
“In September Christer expressed his frustration to me that social services was putting extreme pressure on him and his wife to pretend to Domenic that they don’t want him back and that they are happy with his current custodial arrangement, in order to be allowed to have continued visitation.
Christer said that the requirement to pretend to be happy with the situation was putting a great deal of additional mental and emotional stress on his family, beyond what you would expect from the situation itself.
After 18 months, the Johannsens finally exhausted all the legal appeals available to them in the Swedish court system. They hired one of the best human rights lawyers in Europe, but the judge dismissed her from the case. Last December, the Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden rejected their final appeal on the grounds that by preventing the family moving to India, the court was protecting Domenic’s “right to education.”
Meanwhile, it became increasingly difficult for Christer and Annie to keep lying to their son.
Every time the visits occurred, Domenic would ask, “please let me come home.” And every time the parents were forced to try to pretend that they didn’t want Domenic back.
Christer knew what often happened to other Swedish children in foster care, and worried for his son’s safety. In Daniel Hammarberg’s shocking exposé of the Swedish social services,The Madhouse: A Critical Study of Swedish Society, Hammarberg gives alarming evidence of what happens to the mental health of children like Domenic who have been taken away from their parents. (To read excerpts from the book, click here. To get the book on Kindle, click here.) Some of victims of the Swedish Social Services, such as 13 year old Elin, have even committed suicideChrister began to worry what might happen to his son if Domenic continued to think that his parents were rejecting him.
This put the parents in an agonizing position. Should they continue to lie to their son and destroy his faith in the only two human beings in this world that truly love him? Or should they tell Domenic the truth – that they love him and want him back?
After an agonizing time, Christer decided to tell his son the truth and suffer the consequences. So just last week during visitation, Domenic once again begged his father to take him home. This time, instead of lying, Christer said, “ok, let’s go.” The social workers in Sweden are unarmed so there was nothing they could do to stop him from walking out of the visitation room with Domenic.
Domenic was able to spend a beautiful day and a half with his parents and grandparents, whom he had not seen in 18 months. During this time Christer and Annie explained to Domenic the truth. They explained that they had not rejected him, that they loved him and had been fighting for his freedom for the last 18 months. They told him that whatever happened they would always love him.
“Held Hostage” by the Government
The police wasted no time. When they found out where the family was, several squad cars descended upon the Johansson home. Armed police swept in, dragging Domenic out into the unseasonably frigid temperatures without even giving him an opportunity to get his jacket. Christer was thrown into jail, charged with kidnapping his own son. Although he was released last February (to read our story about it, click here), Domenic remains a captive.
Domenic loved his parents and grandparents. He had a rich and happy childhood and was well provided for by his intelligent Christian parents. However, in Sweden it is the State that is the ultimate parent. Drunk with a sense of their own omnipotence, Swedish Social Services could not let the family move to India for the simple reason that they would then no longer be able to force Domenic to attend their state schools.
“I have never in 20 years of practice seen a case more badly handled,” commented Harrold-Claaesson, a noted international human rights lawyer and president of the Nordic Committee for Human Rights. She continued:
“This family has been so traumatized that they may never recover. The Swedish government has grossly violated this family’s human rights, both under Swedish law and under the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). Under the ECHR people have the right to leave their country. But in this case the social services took this poor little boy and prevented him from leaving with his parents. He is being held a hostage—essentially kidnapped by the Swedish government. It is an absolute embarrassment for Sweden and for every person involved in this case. Each person, from the social workers to the judges, should be ashamed of their behavior and their continuing callousness towards this family. They all must be brought to justice for their crimes against the Johansson family.”
To read all our earlier reports about the Johansson family, click here.
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