The case circumstances of the battle between the Johansson family and Swedish social services agencies are stark:
•7-year-old Domenic Johansson in mid-2009 is abducted by social services workers from parents because they were homeschooling.
•Courts rule state has right to keep custody and even after 18 months, he's allowed to see his mom and dad only about an hour every five to six weeks.
•Frustrated father sneaks son home for unauthorized visit so he can see grandparents.
•Father arrested, jailed, facing trial on counts of "interference."
Now an organization that is working in support of the family has posted a plan originating with a blog called FriendsofDomenic for concerned parents, homeschoolers and others around the world to let the Swedish authorities know the case is cause for alarm.
The plan being offered by officials with the Home School Legal Defense Association is for people around the globe to send a polite and direct message to the judge in the case.
Both websites, FriendsofDomenic and the HSLDA, are posting a Swedish text with instructions for readers to copy and paste into an e-mail, or onto a postcard, and dispatch it to the judge who is appointed by the government to hear the case of Christer Johansson, Domenic's father.
"As you might have heard or read, Domenic's father, Christer Johansson, is in prison awaiting trial on Dec. 20, 2010. He was arrested after bringing Domenic home after a supervised meeting. These extremely rare meetings of one hour every five weeks, and under close watch of authorities, have been torture for this family, who have suffered unimaginable psychological stress and pressure," says the announcement.
"Imagine only being allowed to see your young child for this limited time over the last 18 months. They have not even been allowed to see Domenic on his birthday and holidays," it continues.
"Christer has also twice been denied his right to choose his own legal representative.
"We really want to bring this issue into focus and show our support for Christer in the upcoming trial on the 20th," the message continues. Because of the high costs of travel to the Swedish island of Gotland, a rally there is unworkable, but the group said, "We would like you, wherever you are in the world, to please print or copy the Swedish text found below and post this as a letter or postcard to the judge who will lead the trial on the 20th."
The name of the judge and his address:
Lagman Mikael Mellqvist
The blog also suggests e-mails to the judge.
The note says: "I am extremely worried about how the Swedish authorities and courts are treating Christer Johansson and the circumstances of the forceful abduction of his son Domenic by Gotland Social Services. When Christer decided to bring his son home … it was the action of a man who had been driven to desperation. … Christer Johansson is not a criminal, but he has had to endure huge psychological stress and pressure. … I entreat you to please respect Christer Johansson's human rights."
The Swedish text, as provided by the sites:
Till Lagman Mikael Mellqvist
Jag är mycket oroad över hur svenska myndigheter och domstolar har behandlat Christer Johansson och över LVU- omhändertagandet av hans son Domenic Johansson. När Christer måndagen den 22 november 2010 tog med sig Domenic gjorde han en överilad handling.
Han är en kärleksfull far som inte längre kunde stå emot sin längtan efter sonen Domenic, som han bara har fått träffa 1 timme var femte vecka och då alltid övervakad av någon myndighetsperson.
Christer är ingen brottsling, men han har levt under oerhörd psykisk press och stress sedan 1,5 år tillbaka när de sociala myndigheterna beslöt att på ytterst tveksamma grunder tvångsomhänderta hans barn.
Jag vädjar till Er att låta Christer Johansson slippa straff och att ni respekterar de mänskliga rättigheterna som stadgas i Europakonventionen.
The Alliance Defense Fund, an international public interest law team, is working with the HSLDA on an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in the family's case.
They explain the situation:
"Despite the ill-advised decision on the part of Mr. Johansson, the only menace here is a government drunk with its own power," said Roger Kiska, legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund.
"No one in Swedish government seems to be paying attention as this system tramples this poor family into the dirt," added Michael Donnelly, with the Home School Legal Defense Association. "It's incredible that after taking Domenic off a plane because he was being homeschooled in June 2009 he is still not home. This is an outrage that all free people should condemn."
The blog report said Christer Johansson was having a brief, once-every-five-weeks visit with his son, Domenic, now 9, when he decided to leave the state-supervised location and take Domenic home with him.
"Christer had no apparent motive other than to have more time with his son and to allow Dominic's grandparents, who had not seen their grandson in nearly a year-and-a-half, a chance to see their grandchild," the report said.
Two days later, on Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Johansson notified authorities he and his son were both at home, and police officers in several police units swooped down on the residential neighborhood, taking custody of Domenic again without even allowing him time to put on a coat in the frigid Swedish winter, the report said.
Domenic has been in custody since mid-2009 because his parents were homeschooling him. He was "state-napped" by police who on social workers' instructions raided a jet about to depart for India and forcibly took Domenic into custody. The Johanssons were in the process of moving to India, Domenic's mother's home country, at the time.
WND reported this fall that a judge in Sweden's administrative court ruled social workers will continue to have custody of Domenic. The boy was seized from his parents June 25, 2009, because he was being homeschooled, had a few untreated cavities in his teeth and had not been given the latest vaccinations scheduled by the government.
Since then, he's been allowed brief visits with his parents, sometimes five weeks apart, and at other times a brief – monitored – telephone call.
"The government shouldn’t abduct and imprison children simply because it doesn't like homeschooling. That's exactly what happened here," said Kiska. "This sad circumstance is what happens when an over-powerful government pushes a parent to the point of desperation, so social services should not pretend to be surprised. The parents complied with everything expected of them, and yet the government continued to keep their son under lock and key.
"Americans beware: This is coming to your doorstep if you are not vigilant about your government," he warned.
According to a website that supports the Johansson family, the head of Sweden's Department of Children and Education, Lena Celion, wrote that it was "for the boy's sake" that agents forcibly and without a warrant took him from his family, placed him with a foster family and enrolled him in a government school.
Gustaf Hofstedt, president of the local social services board, has told WND by telephone from Sweden that there is more to the dispute than homeschooling, but he refused to explain.
"I understand the public debate has been that is a case that is only concerning the fact of homeschooling," he told WND. "But that is not the case."
Asked to explain, he said, "I can't answer that question because of secrecy."
There also is a petition on Domenic's behalf.