This resumé of the Götene case is presented here for our foreign readers.

The municipality of Götene took all three children, aged 13, 10 and 7 of a family that had no previous contacts either with the social services or the police, into public care in the autumn of 2001. The children were placed in separate institutions. Accusations of abuse in the family have long since been written off by the police. However, the social workers and the social council succeeded in obtaining court decisions for the "care of the children". The costs for the tax-payers have been enormous - several million crowns.

The father is Swedish and the mother is from Assyria. The children have been forbidden to speak to their mother in her own language. The 13-year old daughter was placed in a home with older teenagers who had problems with drugs and prostitution.

Shortly after the 13-year old daughter was taken into care in August 2001, the father contacted the NCHR. He was warned about the safety of the younger children. They were abducted from their school with the help of the police in November 2001. The younger children have been ill-treated by the staff at the institution where they were placed. Relatives from other European countries travelled to Sweden to visit the children, but they were denied the right to see them. The younger children managed, however, to get word out to their parents that they were being ill-treated. They were immediately removed from the institution and placed at a secret address. They have been totally isolated from their parents for several months. Letters from the parents to their children were intercepted by the social workers. The parents were not even allowed telephone contacts with their children. The family's priest was not allowed to visit the children, either.

While in state care, the children were allowed to go to school only three hours per day.

Upon advice from the NCHR, the father engaged assistant professor Bo Edvardsson, at the University of Örebro to do an analysis of the documentation that the social services used in their accusations against the parents. According to Edvardsson, the material was the most outrageous that he had ever seen. He called it "an unusually brutal case".

The Tabloid newspaper "The Gothenburg Newspaper" published a series of articles about the case between November 9 - 14 and again on November 22, 2002. On Monday last, (11/11) the District Administrative Court in Mariestad held a marathon hearing of the case. The proceedings took 14 hours and ended at 11 p.m.

On November 21, 2002, the District Administrative Court in Mariestad delivered its verdict in the case. The court lifted the care order. According to the provisions in the verdict, the decision gained force of law immediately.

The parents intend to fetch their children from their captivity without delay.

For access to the Tabloid publications please see "Kampen om barnen - Götenefallet" in the Nordic section. Unfortunately it is in Swedish, but the photos give a candid picture of the way the Swedish system of taking children into public care works.


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