The Legal Kidnapping of a Child

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In June 2009 the Swedish police boarded an airplane bound for India. They had no warrant or reasonable cause to assume that a crime had been or would be committed. Still, they arrested Christer Johansson and his Indian wife Annie and seized their seven-year-old son Domenic. Over the last two years the couple has been allowed to visit the child only one hour every five weeks and never on Christmas – the Swedish government workers are on vacation and can't be bothered.

So what is their "crime"? Homeschooling.

The Johanssons got married in India but after the earthquake of 2001 moved to Sweden, Christer's homeland. It was in the Scandinavian nation that their son Domenic was born. The family was planning to move back to India to work as missionaries teaching self-sufficiency techniques to orphans.

Aware that homeschooling was at that time perfectly legal in Sweden, and planning to leave that country fairly soon, Christer and Annie decided to homeschool Domenic. Likewise, they legally opted out of the standard vaccinations.

Clearly, homeschooling is under growing pressure in the Old World. German legislation dating back from the Third Reich has been used to fine and even imprison homeschoolers; some have sought political asylum in New Zealand and the United States. The British government came close to imposing a compulsory census and establishing homeschooling legislation following the controversial Badman report which recommends a variety of draconian controls over the relatively free homeschooling legal environment in the UK.

In December 2009, the Stockholm Administrative Court found that the government workers had been correct in seizing Domenic since he was neither schooled nor vaccinated. The Court conveniently dismissed the fact that neither schooling nor vaccination was compulsory at that time in Sweden. It was this court that limited the visiting schedule to one hour every five weeks.

Swedish lawmakers promptly corrected this dreadful shortcoming and in 2010 passed legislation consisting of 1,500 pages to restrict the privilege of homeschooling to "exceptional circumstances." Despite their best attempts the Swedish association of homeschoolers did not even have a chance to meet the Minister of Education and that battle was lost before it started. In a "beautifully" democratic example of pluralism, only one member of parliament voted against this legislation. She disagreed on two points only: that elementary education (3 to 6 years) be made compulsory and on new regulations on homeschooling.

The wise Roman principle that there can be no crime or punishment without prior legislation doesn't apply in the Kingdom of Sweden, apparently. To make things worse, there has been a complete media blackout in Sweden, not to mention the rest of the world.

Last November, Christer decided that this had gone too far already and did what every decent human being would do: he took his son home.

But as soon as the State realized what had happened the police showed up and kidnapped the child back into custody. Christer was jailed until January 2011. While the Swedish government workers were busy celebrating Christmas, Annie was home alone unable to visit her son Domenic and unable to help her jailed husband. Since this shameful nightmare began Annie has been taken no less than six times to the hospital with heart issues.

To attack homeschooling is, quite literally, to violently assault against responsible families. Disgusting.

You can sign a petition here to return Domenic Johansson to his parents. They have also set up a Facebook group and a blog.

Thanks to Manuel Lora for his editorial help.

Toni Mascró [send him mail] writes for Libremercado.com

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