Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
A plea has been sent worldwide for moms, dads, brothers, aunts and grandparents – in fact anyone – to contact Swedish authorities and ask them to return to his parents a 7-year-old boy taken into police custody over a dispute that includes the family’s decision to homeschool.
Annie and Dominic Johansson
As WND reported last June, Swedish police barged into a passenger jet awaiting departure from Sweden to India and forcibly took into custody Dominic Johansson, 7.
Now a report from HSLDA says the “Swedish Social Services Committee” is scheduled to meet April 23 about the case, and interested parties are being asked to express their wish directly to Sweden’s administration.
“Sadly, there has been no other change in the status of 7-year-old Dominic Johansson, forcibly separated from his parents, Christer and Annie, more than 10 months ago. Dominic continues to be held in state custody in a foster home. His parents are allowed monitored visits with him only once [for an hour] every five weeks. The situation remains one of intense difficulty for the family,” HSLDA said today.
Christer Johansson told WND in an interview from Sweden that he and Annie are very tired after dealing with the stress of forced family separation for months. His wife repeatedly has been hospitalized for symptoms they believe result from the decision by social workers to separate the family.
He told WND of further pressure from “some kind of investigation” that continues, even though there never has been any evidence that would justify the state taking custody of Dominic from his parents.
His wife, he said, “gets panicked now and then.”
“We can’t make any plans for the moment,” he said. “I have done what I can get done. … We are just waiting to get Dominic back. Annie needs her family to be able to get back [her health] at all.”
The family had planned a move to India for her to be near family members when the conflict erupted last year.
“Their reasoning? Dominic was being homeschooled, which is permitted by Swedish law, and his parents had also legally opted out of giving him standard vaccinations,” the group said.
Further, in December, “after being kept in state custody for several months with minimal visitation from his parents, a Swedish court upheld this decision.”
Christer told WND that other parents who find themselves in such situations should “get a good lawyer” immediately.
“We’re going to have a meeting with the social board in a few days,” he said. “We’re going to talk at the meeting about if they can return him.”
He said he and his wife have been shocked by what has happened.
“It’s difficult for me to speak about all this and really I have not landed yet. It’s just so crazy. It’s insane stuff that’s happening. It has to stop,” he told WND.
When the court ruling was announced, Michael Donnelly, director of international affairs for the HSLDA, called the court decision “deeply disturbing.”
“The hostility against homeschooling and for parent’s rights is contrary to everything expected from a Western nation,” he said.
Support also is being generated for the family on Facebook.
Said one forum participant, “My brother was kidnapped once for 4 months … so I know a bit of the heartache you are experiencing … but now as a parent, I cannot bear to even THINK of your brokenness! This has gone on much too long!”
Christer shared one of Annie’s episodes of ill health on the blog: “The ambulance was here just a few min back, this is the fourth time Annie collapses with chest pain. We had a meeting with the socials a few weeks back, and Annie could not believe how bad they treat people, how much they humiliate! … I really wonder, do they know how to stop before she dies or what? I’m more angry then ever, this has to stop!”
“At times referred to as a ‘social utopia,’ Sweden is completely antagonistic toward homeschoolers and, in reality, anyone who deviates from what the Swedish government defines as ‘normal.’ The government’s quest for conformity produces troubling side effects: the criminalization of actions – such as a parent’s decision regarding the best form of education for his child – that ought to be the hallmarks of a free, democratic society,” HSLDA has reported.
“Taking children from their parents over minor differences in approaches to medical care (e.g. choosing not to vaccinate or delaying minor dental treatments) and for homeschooling is completely at odds with the basic human rights which all Western democracies should reflect,” the HSLDA said.
The attack on homeschoolers appears to be part of a trend in some Western nations, including Germany. WND reported only a few weeks ago when a German family was granted asylum in the United States because of the persecution members would face if returned to their home country.
In an online statement at the time of the abduction, Johansson said, “While we may do things differently than most Swedes, we have not broken any laws and we have not harmed our son. We decided as a family that we wanted to move to India where we could be near my wife’s family. But the government has taken over my family, and now we are living in a nightmare. I fear for the life of my wife under this torture and for the well-being of my son who has only been allowed to see his parents for a few hours since he was taken. The government is alienating my son from me, and I am powerless to do anything.”
“What you have here is a socialist country trying to create a cookie-cutter kid,” said Roger Kiska, an Alliance Defense Fund attorney based in Europe. “This kind of thing happens too often where social workers take a child and then just keep him.”