Nightmare soon to end?: Court vindicates Swedish homeschooling parents in state kidnapping case

by Ben Johnson

June 15, 2012

Domenic Johansson, with his parents.
Domenic Johansson, with his parents.
A Swedish homseschooling couple may shortly be reunited with their son after a prolonged separation, after a Swedish court has judged that the couple did not act irresponsibly by removing their children from the public school system.

Government officials seized Christer and Annie Johansson’s 10-year-old son, Domenic, in June 2009 as they boarded a plane for Annie’s home country of India. Domenic, who was seven at the time, has been in state custody ever since.

Domenic Johansson, with his parents.

“We will ask the court for the immediate return of Domenic Johansson to his parents,” said Ruby Harrold-Claesson of the Nordic Committee on Human Rights, who represents the parents. “Based on the information in this verdict, there can be no justification for keeping this family apart.”

The U.S.-based Alliance Defense Fund and Home School Legal Defense Alliance are providing legal advice.

“The government shouldn’t abduct and imprison children simply because it doesn’t like home schooling,” said ADF Legal Counsel Roger Kiska. “This family’s human rights have been unimaginably violated.”

HSLDA Director of International Relations Mike Donnelly agreed the case was “a grotesque abuse of their human rights.”

“Domenic has not been returned home yet, but we have every hope that he will be soon,” he said.

The child has been in state custody for three years with limited visitation from the parents, while the state has considered terminating their parental rights altogether. Authorities jailed Christer after he took his son on an unauthorized outing in December 2010.

According to Crisis magazine, the years-long separation led Annie to have a nervous breakdown.

Meanwhile, the Scandinavian nation has cracked down on homeschooling, allowing it only under “extraordinary circumstances.”

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