Matthew Cullinan Hoffman


Indian couple imprisoned after falling into hands of Norway’s child protection system

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

OSLO, December 14, 2012, ( - The government of Norway has sentenced two Indian parents accused of child abuse to 15 and 18 months in prison, despite having released the child into their custody and allowing him to return to India with them months ago, adding what may be two more victims of the Nordic countries’ infamous child protection system.

Chandrasekhar and Anupama Vallabhaneni’s nightmare began earlier this year, when the Norwegian government took their seven year old son, Sai Sriram, from them after he complained of being scolded by them for urinating in his pants, according to reports in the Indian media.

The couple was living in Norway temporarily while working for the software company TCS. 

Sai Sriram was released by government officials a month later, and returned with his parents to India. 

Chandrasekhar Vallabhaneni returned alone in October, leaving his wife and son at home.  He was then issued a summons to appear in court in November regarding the case, and his wife flew in to accompany him. Both were arrested in the court, and on October 4 were sentenced to 18 and 15 months in prison respectively.

Norse authorities claim that the child had burn marks and had been beaten with a belt.  The parents reportedly claim that the burn marks were due to an accident, and deny abusing their child.

No explanation has been published in press reports of why, if Sai Sriram was abused, he was returned to his parents and allowed to leave the country with them. 

“The Oslo court judgment was disappointing. It heard only one-side of the story from prosecution and had not given any opportunity to my uncle and aunt to present their version. We will challenge the judgment in a higher court,” said V Sailendra, Chandrasekhar’s nephew, to the media.  Although an appeal was since filed, the couple will be held in jail during the interim, according to India Today.

The case follows numerous other infamous cases of children taken from foreigners on flimsy grounds by the governments of Norway and Sweden.  Indian parents appear to be a major target. 

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Opponents of the government’s child protective services systems say their systems amount to “state-sponsored kidnapping” that seems to have an economic motive: foster parents are given tens of thousands of dollars in government aid for caring for the children.

In a recent case that attracted international media attention, Indian couple Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya lost custody of their two children, Abhigyan, 3, and Aishwarya, 1, to Norwegian authorities in May of last year for such offenses as feeding their children by hand and having them sleep with them in their bed.  Following negative publicity on the case in the Indian press and protests by Indian diplomats, Norway agreed to release the children into the custody of an uncle.

In another case, the government of Sweden removed seven-year-old Domenic Johansson, whose mother is Indian, from the custody of his parents as they sat on a plane preparing to fly to India, because they had attempted to homeschool him in Sweden.  He has remained in foster care for more than three years, while his parents have been allowed to visit him for one hour every five weeks. His mother has suffered a nervous breakdown and his father was jailed in 2010 for taking his child home with him following a supervised visit.

Although a lower court ruled that Domenic’s parents, Annie and Christer Johansson, were to retain their parental rights, the government appealed the ruling and on Monday a higher court dissolved their parental rights completely. They are no longer permitted to have any contact with Domenic.

Such “kidnappings” by the government of Norway have become so common that foreigners victimized by the system have repeatedly turned to the services of Polish private investigator Krysztof Rutkowski to rescue their children from foster care and smuggle them out of the country. 

Royal Norwegian Embassy in Washington
2720 34th Street NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel:  (202) 333-6000
Fax:  (202) 469-3990
E-mail: [email protected]

Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ottawa
150 Metcalfe Street
Suite 1300                                                                                  
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1P1
Tel:  (613) 238 6571
Fax: (613) 238 2765
E-mail: [email protected]

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve

Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

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By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

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By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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