Wednesday 8 December 2010
A Swedish court has jailed the father of a state-abducted child for taking his son home for an “unauthorized” overnight visit, the Homeschool Legal Defence League (HSLDA) has reported. Christer Johansson, the father of Dominic Johansson is being held in jail pending a trial later this month.
Johansson removed his son from a supervised visit to take him to see his grandparents and spend a night at home. On Wednesday, November 24th, the father telephoned police to inform them he and Domenic could be found at home. Christer was arrested that night, and arraigned and remanded in custody on the following Friday.
The child is allowed to see his family only on state-supervised one-hour visits once every five weeks.
Christer Johansson is being held “on suspicion of unlawful detention,” or “heavy-handedness with a child.” According to Chapter 4 section 2 of the Criminal Code, this is punishable with prison for a minimum of one and maximum of ten years.
Removing a child under fifteen years from the social services can constitute a crime against freedom or the promotion of escape and is punishable with fines or a prison sentence of up to one year.
The state, however, is not undertaking a trial until Johansson has undergone psychiatric testing. According to HSLDA, it is routine in Sweden when parents object to state interference with their children for them to be ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation and diagnosis. Officials can later hold this up as a reason they were justified in taking children into state care.
Mike Donnelly, a lawyer specializing in international cases with the HSLDA, has commented in the past that the Gotland Social Services and state officials are likely trying to “cover their tracks” in the face of international outrage over the case.
Ruby Harrold-Claesson, a human rights lawyer and chairman of the Nordic Committee for Human Rights is handling the Johansson family’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. She has reportedly been denied access to Christer while he is in jail.
Harrold-Claesson, who specializes in defending Swedish parents who have had their children taken by the state, said in October, “I have never in 20 years of practice seen a case more badly handled. This family has been so traumatized that they may never recover.”
On June 25th, 2009, officials of the Gotland municipality kidnapped Dominic, then eight years old, removing him from an airplane at Arlanda International Airport in Stockholm without a warrant. Dominic and his parents were on their way to India to work with a humanitarian project. The Johanssons had planned to place Dominic in public school in India.
Dominic was taken by armed police and turned over to state officials then placed in foster care where he has remained since. Although the Johanssons have not been charged with any crime, a court ruled in October that Dominic could not be returned to the family home. Dominic was taken on the grounds that he had a few untreated cavities in his teeth and had not been given the latest vaccinations scheduled by the government.
Gotland Social Services claimed that the child displayed “deviant” behavior in school, including laughing and hugging other children in class and kissing them on the cheek. They claimed that Dominic “does not know how to relate to children his age.” Social workers, justifying their continued custody, told a court that Dominic’s education was “delayed” and that he liked to “play with younger children.”
In a report on the case, the HSLDA said, “What this really means, of course, is that the social workers believe that Dominic should not be raised by his parents simply because the state has a different opinion of how children should be raised.”