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HSLDA: Swedish Court Rejects Homeschool Family’s Desperate Appeal

Sweden


April 30, 2013

Swedish Court Rejects Homeschool Family’s Desperate Appeal

Domenic Johansson has been separated from his family for years.

How to Help

Although the Swedish Supreme Court has rejected the Johansson family’s appeal, we understand that some may wish to ask the court to reconsider their decision. Contact information and a sample message are below.

Contact information for the Swedish Supreme Court (Högsta domstolen):

Email:
hogsta.domstolen@dom.se

Mailing address:
Högsta domstolen
Box 2066
103 12 Stockholm
SWEDEN

A 1-oz letter from the US will cost $1.10 through the Postal Service

A letter from NZ will cost $2.40 through the Postal Service

Fax:
From outside Sweden: +46 8 561 666 86

If you fax from the U.S., you will need to replace the + sign with “011” and then dial 46 8 561 666 86

If you fax from New Zealand, you will need to replace the + sign with “00” and then dial 46 8 561 666 86

From inside Sweden: 08-561 666 86

Sample Message

Re: Case Number 298-13, Annie and Christer Johansson

Mr. President and Justices of the Supreme Court,

I am writing today to urge you to take up the case of the Johansson family, case number 298-13. This is an extremely important case involving the welfare of 11-year-old Domenic Johansson who was taken from his parents in June 2009. The family has not seen their child in years. This sounds so inhuman, and we implore you in the interests of justice and humanity, please take up Christer and Annie Johansson’s case and return their child to them.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Sincerely,

[Your name and country]

http://www.hslda.org/hs/international/Sweden/201304300.asp

In a perfunctory order the Swedish Supreme Court rejected a desperate appeal by Christer and Annie Johansson, parents of Dominic Johansson, who was torn from his parents while minutes from take-off on an international flight as the family prepared to move to India. There were no pending criminal or civil charges at the time.

By rejecting the appeal, the court upholds an appeals court ruling that effectively terminated the parental rights of Christer and Annie Johansson. United States courts have called the termination of parental rights the family court equivalent of the death penalty.

The family had previously won a District Court judgment in June 2012. After three days of testimony that court agreed that the parents were suitable and ruled that parental rights should not be terminated.

New Evidence

According to family attorney Ruby Harold-Claesson, however, when the Social Services agency appealed they were permitted to introduce their own new psychiatric expert while the appeals court refused a request by the family to provide additional testimony and an impartial psychiatric evaluation of the child.

Based on this new evidence, the court of appeals reached a decision that was diametrically opposite that of the district court, a situation, Harrold-Claesson said, that normally prompts the Supreme Court to hear an appeal.

“It’s obvious that they haven’t even read the appeal,” Harold-Claesson told HSLDA.

“I had hoped something would change with this case, but sadly this is more of the same inhuman treatment from a ruthless system that has no regard for the rights of parents and children to be together. The court doesn’t seem to even notice how the state was permitted to introduce new evidence in the court of appeals but the Johanssons were not. In the Swedish system it seems as if individuals have no rights when they oppose the ‘almighty state’.”

Judge in Question

Harrold-Claesson also pointed out that one of the judges in the appeals court had been in charge of the administrative court system that had awarded custody to the state in 2009. He retired from that court system and was appointed to hear the parental termination hearing in the district court system, something Harrold-Claesson said should never have happened.

“I asked for the recusal of this judge because he was the chief judge in the Stockholm administrative court where all the cases for Domenic Johansson had been decided in favor of the state—how could he be impartial?” she asked.

Michael Donnelly, HSLDA’s director for international affairs, said the decision is reprehensible but par for the course given the Swedish court system’s demonstrated callousness.

“We are grateful for the many people who responded to our request to send letters to the court. We are heartbroken by the court’s unwillingness to hear this case,” he said. “How can anyone respect the Swedish justice system that allows this kind of injustice to go unheard.”

Roger Kiska, the Alliance Defending Freedom’s senior legal counsel in Europe, was outraged by the court’s action.

“It is beyond belief that a modern civilized country could allow such injustice to continue,” he said. “There is no evidence in the record that justifies the continued separation of this family. We will continue to fight for this family and on behalf of the principle that the European Convention condemns such acts.”

Pressing On

Donnelly vowed that the fight will continue.

“How can we give up?” he asked. “The fact that both Johanssons have survived after nearly four years without their only child is a testimony to their faith and hope. We will leave no stone unturned in helping this family plead their case, but there are few courts left to which they can turn. We ask our friends and supporters to keep this family and their legal team in their thoughts and prayers.”

Since the court has made its decision, letters and contacts to the court may no longer be effective.

However, we understand that some may wish to ask the court to reconsider their decision. The family’s lawyers are also reviewing other legal procedures that may be available to request reconsideration or to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights. That court refused to hear an earlier appeal.

HSLDA has been working with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) to call attention to the plight of the family. For more information, please visit our Johannson resource page or ADF’s resource page.

In the meantime you can show your support for this family at their Facebook page.

Please also sign these two petitions:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Lyft_fram_fallet_Dominic_i_svensk_TV_Kalla_Fakta_etc/?ceTZWbb

.

http://www.change.org/petitions/return-domenic-johansson-to-his-parents-christer-and-annie-immediately

Please pray for Christer and Annie Johansson and sign these two petitions

Please SIGN these two PETITIONs HERE:

http://www.change.org/petitions/return-domenic-johansson-to-his-parents-christer-and-annie

and

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Lyft_fram_fallet_Dominic_i_svensk_TV_Kalla_Fakta_etc/?ceTZWbb

Petitioning Supreme Court of Sweden: Please sign

Return Domenic Johansson to his parents, Christer and, Annie!

Petitioning Supreme Court of Sweden

Return Domenic Johansson to his parents, Christer and, Annie!

For more information on Domenic Johansson, please visit:

http://friendsofdomenic.blogspot.se/p/because-they-loved.html

http://dominicjohansson.blogspot.se/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/returndomenic/

I urge you all to please, take action and sign this petition!

To:
Supreme Court of Sweden, Högsta Domstolen
Kristina Djerf, Social Services of Gotland
Marika Gardell, Social Services of Gotland
Return Domenic Johansson to his parents, Christer and, Annie!

Sincerely,
[Your name]

SIGN two PETITIONs HERE: http://www.change.org/petitions/return-domenic-johansson-to-his-parents-christer-and-annie

and

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Lyft_fram_fallet_Dominic_i_svensk_TV_Kalla_Fakta_etc/?ceTZWbb

Supreme Court of Sweden asked to free abducted homeschooled boy

ALLIANCE DEFENDING FREEDOM NEWS RELEASE
22 April 2013

Domenic Johansson has been separated from his family for years.

 

 Supreme Court of Sweden asked to

free abducted homeschooled boy

Domenic Johansson still in government captivity after four years

 

STOCKHOLM — Sweden’s highest court is being asked to free an 11-year-old boy whom government officials have held in captivity for four years because his parents home-schooled him. Attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom and the Home School Legal Defense Association are legal advisors to the parents, who are represented by Ruby Harrold-Claesson of the Nordic Committee on Human Rights.

Social services authorities placed Dominic Johansson in foster care and a government school in 2009 and rarely allowed his parents, Christer and Annie Johansson, to visit him. The government cut off all visitation the following year. The appeal to the Supreme Court of Sweden comes after a mid-level appellate court reversed a lower court’s ruling that had restored parental rights to Dominic’s parents.

“The government shouldn’t abduct and imprison children–and especially not because it doesn’t like home schooling,” said Alliance Defending Freedom 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.”

“After the district court victory, we had hoped the end of this nightmare was approaching,” said HSLDA Director of International Relations Mike Donnelly, one of more than 2,200 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom. “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.”

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.

Alliance Defending Freedom and HSLDA are encouraging concerned people from all over the world to participate in an HSLDA-sponsored letter-writing campaign  that asks the Supreme Court of Sweden to accept the case Johansson v. Gotland Social Services and return Domenic to his parents. (If you fax from New Zealand, you will need to replace the + sign with “00” and then dial 46 8 561 666 86)

 

 

 CONTACT PHONE: +43 1 904 9555 / E-MAIL: globalmedia@alliancedefendingfreedom.org

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organisation that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From the Smiths:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/

Updated 2 February 2013:  One year on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here

*****

Needing help for your home schooling journey:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

http://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

http://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading/

WND: Homeschool parents have 1 shot to see son again

Swedish parents Annie and Christer Johansson have launched what may be their last hope to see their son again – with an appeal to the Supreme Court of Sweden to overturn a lower court’s decision to end their parental rights over homeschooling.

Michael Farris, the chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association, says it’s among the most brutal cases he’s ever seen.

His parents haven’t seen Domenic Johansson for almost three years. He was abducted by armed Swedish police officers operating on the orders of social services agencies from on board Turkish Air Flight 990 on June 25, 2009…Read cut here: http://www.wnd.com/2013/04/homeschool-parents-have-1-shot-to-see-son-again/

HSLDA said it is asking homeschooling and concerned parents from all over the world to join in a letter-writing campaign to plead with the Swedish Supreme Court to take the case and to return Domenic to his parents.

Ruby Harrold-Claesson, the attorney for the family, told HSLDA that it is important that the Swedish government know that they are being watched.

Christer and Domenic Johansson

 

“Let them know the world is watching,” Harrold-Claesson told HSLDA. “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.”

Michael Donnelly, HSLDA’s director for international affairs, has been working with the family since 2009 and says this may be their last hope.

“If the Swedish Supreme Court does not intervene it is likely they will never see their son again. 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,” Donnelly said.

Farris said the actions by Swedish officials cannot be explained.

“The taking of this child for homeschooling and while the family was moving out of the country is an egregious violation of basic human rights and international law standards. Sweden is a party to numerous treaties that require them to respect the rights of parents to make education decisions and to leave the country if they choose. This is a dangerous precedent if permitted to stand.”

HSLDA’s President J. Michael Smith said that there is no known reason for Sweden’s behavior in the case.

 

“Based on the review of available documentation of this case, we don’t know of anything that would justify either the long-term separation of the family or the termination of their parental rights. There is no doubt that this family needs help,” he said.

Harrold-Claesson is a noted international human rights attorney who has dedicated her life to fighting what she describes as the brutal Swedish social services system.

“The evidence was overwhelming in favor of the Johanssons, and that is why the district court found in their favor,” she said. “These are good parents who were taking good care of their son. This is an unbelievable case of overreaching on the part of Gotland’s politicians. It is despicable that the Swedish courts – with the exception of the district court – have been willing to back up the social workers in this case.”

The attorney said the Swedish system is tilted so that social workers and foster care professionals gain financially when children are removed from their homes.

“They take children to feed a bureaucratic machine of foster homes based on subsidies. They impose their will on vulnerable families who don’t have the resources to fight back, and most lawyers don’t dare to challenge the system for fear of their career,” she said.

HSLDA said it hopes a letter-writing campaign will get the court’s attention and help them distinguish this case from the thousands they receive.

HSLDA’s involvement in the case has involved financial and emotional support to the beleaguered mother and father. Among other efforts, it has set up a donation procedure for those who wish to help.

More information and a sample letter and sending a fax from New Zealand: Desperate Homeschooling Parents Plead for Help—Hope Court Will Hear Case

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From the Smiths:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/

Updated 2 February 2013:  One year on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here

*****

Needing help for your home schooling journey:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

http://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

http://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading/