for the Domenic Johansson Case

by Christer Johansson

Fall of 2008: The Johansson’s (Christer and Annie) contact the Ministry of Education and after being told that they could homeschool and start the process amidst the obstruction of local school officials. They make the decision of homeschooling base on their plans to move to India in a few months and consider that this will ease Domenic's (born 2002) transition and adjustment.

January 2009: After being fined and visited by social services on many occasions, Christer Johansson calls for meetings to discuss this matter, to no avail. The authorities decide that Domenic has to go to school.

February 11th, 2009: The Child and Education Department orders the family to pay a fine of 250 SEK per day that Domenic is not at school. The Social Services intensify their pressure on the family. Homeschooling is still the only issue.

May 27th, 2009: An action is taking to enforce the payment of the fine (Now 15,000 SKr). The court refused to enforce it because the school year is over - an implicit recognition of the right of the family to homeschool under the law at that time (it became illegal in July 2011). Christer Johansson informs the court of the family intention to move to India on June 26th. There is no court order or any other legal action taken to prevent the Johanssons from moving to India as was their plan.

June 25th 2009: Domenic and his parents are seated on the flight to India. Swedish police take Domenic from the plane. They allege that there has been an anonymous report on the family (this has never been confirmed). The family cooperates. They are told that some social workers are going to talk to Domenic for a few minutes, they agree to let him go. The social worker takes Domenic from the airport. Annie collapses.

The Social Services agree to place Domenic with his uncle, Christer's brother, Mike. The parents are told that they will be able to have Domenic back the following Monday. When they go to pick him up, they are told that they have found two cavities, that Domenic seems to be extremely shy and not behaving like a normal kid of his age, and they consider this to be evidence that there is a developmental problem. From here on there is reference to Domenic's mental health. This time both Annie and Christer collapsed. Due to their physical and emotional reaction the social services decide to not allow them to see Domenic. They finally see Domenic 6 WEEKS later. In Christer's words "he (Domenic) was broken in small pieces"

August 4th, 2009: First hearing.

August 13th, 2009: The court upheld the decision of removal of physical custody without any medical or psychological report stating abuse or neglect.

The parents are not allowed to visit Domenic on his birthday and new conditions are imposed on the visits:

    - No toys- Domenic cannot receive any kind of gift from his parents and definitely nothing that he could take with him to his foster home.

    - No taking pictures or filming- therefore no evidence can be provided about the attitude of the Social Workers and their impediments to allow the family to bond.

    -No speaking about the case- there is no possibility for the parents to speak freely with Domenic, explain the situation and comfort him.

November 30th, 2009: Court of Appeals upholds decision largely based on a psychiatric report of Domenic that suggests he was “developmentally delayed”. This report was performed after Domenic has been separated for months from his parents with limited, closely supervised visits .

January 27th, 2010: Swedish Supreme Administrative Court denies the appeal, exhausting the domestic appeals in this case and making it possible to present a petition on the family's behalf in European Court of Human Rights.

In Sweden, the system allows for a revision to see if the child should remain in State custody or can go back to his family. This happens every 6 months more or less. These are some of the actions taken to that effect:

May 13th, 2010: Johansson's Lawyer Ruby Harrold-Claesson (Nordic Committee for Human Rights) is dismissed by the court in Gotland upon request of Domenic's court-appointed lawyer complaining that she took the parents with her in an unscheduled visit to Domenic at school. Domenic was not allowed to see his parents on this occasion.

November 2010: Christer takes Domenic home the 22nd of November (without permission) when they are supposed to have a supervised meeting. Domenic stays with his family over the weekend and then Christer phones the police and tells them where they are. Police appear (again) uniformed and armed and drag Domenic away even without letting him put his outside clothes on. Christer and a friend of his that helped to take Domenic home are charged and Christer spends some time in jail and goes through a psychiatric evaluation. That analysis, completed and submitted to the courts, found Christer to be psychologically sound. Christer requested representation by Trygve Emstedt (a lawyer), but is denied his request in direct defiance of Swedish and European Union laws. Christer sits in jail until 21st of January 2011 when he is finally released.

April 17th 2011: A case number is assigned by the European Court of Human Rights.

April 23rd/27th 2011 (?): Meeting between the Johanssons and the Social Service to respond to inquiries regarding Domenic's deteriorating health. The social services insists that the actions of the parents are to blame for his health issues.

May 2011: The petition to the ECHR concludes, "Insofar as has been communicated to the family through official court orders, Domenic is to remain in the custody of the Swedish officials on what appears to be a de facto permanent basis."

September 2011: Proposal to remove legal custody from the parents.


Copyright © 2011 Christer Johansson - All Rights Reserved

Last updated on 28 January 2012