In a major breakthrough, a Swedish district court has ruled that the parental rights of Annie and Christer Johansson will not be terminated. In its 23-page detailed opinion, the court stated it could not ignore the unanimous and extensive testimony of firsthand accounts of friends, family and others that Dominic Johansson was being properly cared for by his parents prior to Swedish authorities seizing him on June 26, 2009.
The boy and his parents were on board a jetliner minutes from departing Sweden for Annie’s home country of India when Dominic was seized. Authorities justified the taking by pointing to the fact that Dominic was homeschooled. Since then, the family has pursued numerous court actions only to lose in all of them until now.
Ruby Harrold-Claesson, the attorney in the case, said this was a huge development.
“I am absolutely elated!” Claesson said. “This family has suffered horribly for three years at the hands of these Swedish officials. There has not been any justice from the Swedish court system—until now. The social workers and authorities in Gotland have made this family’s life a nightmare for no good reason. I am very pleased that the district court finally saw through the flimsy case and has ruled solidly in favor of the Johanssons.”
HSLDA Attorney and Director of International Relations Michael Donnelly has been following the case closely. He noted the decision with great satisfaction.
Justice at Last
“This is a tremendous day for the Johansson family,” Donnelly said. “HSLDA and the Alliance Defense Fund have been supporting them since Swedish officials took their child—a grotesque abuse of their human rights. Dominic has not been returned home yet, but we have every hope that he will be soon.”
HSLDA Founder and Chairman Michael P. Farris called on Swedish officials to take immediate action: “Swedish officials in this case violated several of this family’s fundamental human rights as recognized by a variety of treaties and conventions. Justice demands an immediate response, and Swedish authorities should return Dominic to his parents immediately.”
HSLDA and the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) previously filed a petition to the European Court of Human Rights. The petition was denied recently. Roger Kiska, an ADF staff attorney who has been involved in the case, was encouraged by this new decision from the district court.
“After three years of separation we hope that Swedish officials will take prompt action to restore this family in light of this favorable court decision,” he said. “The Johanssons’ rights under the European Court of Human Rights have been horribly violated. We hope that the ECHR will reconsider its rejection of this application in light of these circumstances and see that justice is done.”