The parental rights of Christer and Annie Johansson will not be terminated, a Swedish district court ruled.
Last week’s ruling comes three years after Domenic Johansson was forcibly abducted from his parents by social services minutes before the family’s departure for India.
In a press release issued last Thursday, the Alliance Defence Fund commented
The court stated it could not ignore the unanimous and extensive testimony of first-hand accounts of friends, family, and others that Domenic Johansson’s parents, Christer and Annie, were properly caring for him prior to Swedish authorities seizing him in 2009.
“The government shouldn’t abduct and imprison children simply because it doesn’t like home schooling,” said ADF Legal Counsel Roger Kiska. “We encourage Swedish authorities to release Domenic to his parents in light of the court’s ruling, and we hope the European Court of Human Rights will reconsider its recent rejection of Domenic’s case in light of the Swedish court’s determination. This family’s human rights have been unimaginably violated.”
“This is a tremendous day for the Johansson family,” said HSLDA Director of International Relations Mike Donnelly, one of more than 2,100 attorneys in the ADF alliance. “HSLDA and ADF have been supporting them since Swedish officials took their child–a grotesque abuse of their human rights. Dominic has not been returned home yet, but we have every hope that he will be soon.”
HSLDA is a 29-year-old, 80,000 member non-profit organization advocating the legal right of parents to home-school their children.
Swedish authorities forcibly removed Domenic from his parents in June 2009 from a plane they had boarded to move to Annie’s home country of India. The officials did not have a warrant nor did they charge the Johanssons with any crime. The officials seized the child because he was home-schooled, even though home schooling was legal in Sweden at the time he was taken into custody.
In December 2009, a Swedish court ruled in Johansson v. Gotland Social Services that the government was within its rights to seize the child. ADF and HSLDA attorneys filed a lawsuit, Johansson v. Sweden, with the European Court of Human Rights in June 2010 over the matter. That court recently declined to hear the case even after additional submissions from ADF and HSLDA attorneys, but the new ruling from the Swedish court determined that Domenic’s mother and father are suitable to exercise parental rights over their son, bringing new hope that the child will be returned home.
Following the ruling, Christer Johansson commented,
It feels pretty good to win. The social authorities have been running around winning for the last three years. It was pretty important that we won this because, if we didn’t, we would have permanently lost our only child. There is something very wrong with people who would keep a family separated this long for no legitimate reason….
I don’t think we’d be here today if it weren’t for the support of many thousands of people through their emails, telephone calls and letters,” he said. “We know many people have been paying attention to this, and we are so grateful for their constant and consistent support. We want to say thank you to all of our supporters!
It remains to be seen if Swedish officials will take prompt action to end the separation of three years. Even though the specific issue of Domenic’s restoration was not discussed by the court last week, one would hope that the ruling will make it difficult, if not impossible, for social services to continue to keep the child in state custody.
Now that the court has recognized that the Johansson parents were offering Domenic proper care and that it would be unjust to remove their rights, it remains only a small step to recognizing that he ought to be returned to the parents. Pray that officials take this final step to end this family’s misery.
Also pray for Domenic’s health. HSLDA reported that “A review of Domenic’s medical records shows that there have been health issues since he was placed in foster care.”
HSLDA Attorney and Director of International Relations Michael Donnelly said, “Many thousands of families have supported the Johanssons with letters and emails and with their prayers and concern. Now is the time for all concerned supporters to call on the Gotland social services authorities to do the right thing—return Dominic to his parents now!” You can do that by contacting the following:
Swedish Social Services Committee
621 81 Visby
Head of social board
Previous Christian Voice Posts on This Issue
- Swedish ex-pats learn about Domenic snatched by Social Service
- Domenic Johansson To Face Christmas Without Parents
- Miscarriage of Justice Continues in Johansson Case
- Christer Johansson Released from Prison
- Johansson Father Denied Representation and Subject to Psychological Evaluations
- Swedish Social Services Snatch Christian Homeschooler and Jail Father
- Swedish Social Services Kidnap Child
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