Stockholm, Sweden – Christians around the world are being asked to help plead for the release of an 11-year-old boy who was abducted by government officials in 2009 because his parents chose to homeschool the child.
As previously reported, Domenic Johansson was seized by the Swedish government in 2009 as he and his parents, Christer and Annie Johansson, were boarding a plane to move to Annie’s homeland of India. He was only seven years old at the time, and social services state that they removed the child because he was being homeschooled by his parents.
The Johanssons were only allowed to see their son for one hour every five weeks. He was placed in foster care and forced to attend public school. The following year, the government cut off all parental visitations to Domenic.
Last June, a district court ruled that it could not ignore the fact that everyone who had testified about the Johansson’s care of Domenic showed that the family was doing just fine before he was removed from the home, but the decision was later overturned on appeal.
Now, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), along with the Nordic Committee on Human Rights are petitioning the high court in Sweden to free the boy and return him to his parents.
“After the district court victory, we had hoped the end of this nightmare was approaching,” said HSLDA Director of International Relations Mike Donnelly. “As the district court found, Annie and Christer Johansson are good parents. It is unconscionable that the court of appeals–or any court in a democratic country like Sweden–could somehow think that it is in Dominic’s best interest to remain separated from his parents. The pain, suffering, and harm done to this family are incalculable.”
“The government shouldn’t abduct and imprison children–and especially not because it doesn’t like home schooling,” stated ADF senior legal counsel Roger Kiska. “Instead of protecting its citizens, Sweden’s government has become a frightening threat. There is no justification for taking a child away from his parents for four years simply because the parents wanted to educate their child at home. This is a tragedy and injustice of epic proportions, and we are asking Sweden’s highest court to right this egregious wrong.”
The legal organizations are now asking Christians around the world to join them in a letter-writing campaign to the Supreme Court of Sweden, asking the court to accept the case of Johansson v. Gotland Social Services and to send the child home to his family.
“Let them know the world is watching,” Swedish attorney Ruby Harrold-Claesson of the Nordic Committee of Human Rights stated. “I think that it is positive that the Justices at the Supreme Court should know that the world is watching them. Shower them with emails, inundate their fax with letters. Everything—email or fax—that is sent to the court has to be registered and made available for public scrutiny.”
“If the Swedish Supreme Court does not intervene it is likely they will never see their son again,” added Michael Donnely with HSLDA. “It is like a death sentence, except that Domenic is alive and just a few miles away from his mother. The strain on her is becoming unbearable. She is having increasingly frequent physical and mental breakdowns. I fear for her life.”
HSLDA has set up a special page for the letter-writing campaign here.