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Karina Hansen 3: Update March 2016

March 7, 2016

KarinaHansenStockPicThis update follows on from my previous post Karina Hansen 2: the Ghost in the Room. For the full background to this story, please refer to that post. There is now also a more detailed post at Karina Hansen 4: Timeline, Torture and Tragedy (April 2016) with a further brief update at Karina Hansen 5 (October 2016).

A brief re-cap…..

Karina (pictured left) was diagnosed with severe Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) in 2008. The diagnosis was disputed and, as a result she was forcibly removed from home, where her family had been caring for her, in February 2013. She was then aged 24.

Karina was taken to Hammel Neurocenter (described as “The Research Clinic for Functional Disorders”) which provides treatment for patients with neurological damage and diseases. Several doctors have been involved in her case but psychiatrists Nils Balle Christensen and Per Fink have dictated the overall course of her treatment. Since shortly after her initial detention, she has been classed as a “voluntary” patient; she was found by a court subsequently to lack capacity to make her own decisions. As a result of that finding, the court appointed a legal guardian to take responsibility for her welfare.

…..And now

Three years later, Karina remains a de facto prisoner of the state. She has been moved to a nearby “rehabilitation centre” but allowed very little contact with her family. However, her father recently visited her. Whilst she was physically clean and cared-for, she was nevertheless in a wheelchair and unable to speak except for incomprehensible mumbling and grimaces. She did not recognise her own father.

Although Karina was extremely ill before she was removed from home, she was still able to stand up, speak and communicate with others. She was being cared for by her family, according to her express wishes as a competent adult. Her condition as evidenced by this recent visit represents a frightening deterioration in her physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Karina’s state indicates several possible causes: for example – she is excessively over-medicated; she has experienced acute trauma; she is now suffering from serious neurological damage – or any combination of the three. In the absence of any clear explanation, the inevitable question arises: is her condition the direct result of a state-orchestrated plan which went horribly wrong?


UPDATE – legal (for more background see previous post) 

On 26 February 2016, the Danish High Court heard an appeal by Karina’s parents against the guardianship order imposed by the District Court. This order had confirmed Kaj Stendorf as Karina’s permanent legal guardian. Mr Stendorf was the chief of police (now retired) in charge of Karina’s district when she was taken from her home by police against her will (see previous post). The appeal failed and the District Court’s order was upheld.

This means that Karina remains subject to the guardianship of a man who was a party to the state agreement that she should be forcibly removed from her home. This act was clearly against the express wishes of both Karina and and her family. The guardianship order therefore appears to represent a serious conflict of interest which, on the face of it, does not seem to have been properly considered by the Court.

I have recently been given some further information about the background to Karina’s situation. It may be that I need to take off my journalist’s hat and put on my lawyer’s hat for a short time. This might mean that I won’t be able to discuss the legal aspects of Karina’s story in any detail for the time being as some of the information is given in confidence. However, I will continue to keep the blog updated as far as possible.


UPDATE – accountability

In my previous post I wrote:

In the interests of balance and as a further attempt to gain more background information, I asked an academic colleague to contact some of the protagonists in the process which has brought Karina to her current situation. My colleague is an expert on open justice in European countries and has researched the area extensively.

The following people have been contacted directly and asked for comment:

  • The Minister for Justice
  • The Minister for Health
  • Per Fink
  • Nils Balle Christensen
  • Jens Gyring (consultant at Hammel Neurocenter)

Per Fink replied on behalf of himself and Hammel saying that all patients are there on a voluntary basis and that the clinic is very popular (see previous post for fuller details).

So far, there has been an acknowledgment but no substantive reply from the Minister for Justice. This is being chased up.

The Minister for Health has responded in the following terms: “Please note that information about specific patients in the Danish healthcare system is confidential and will not be released to third parties.” This is, of course, entirely predictable (it would actually be very alarming if the Minister was giving out highly sensitive personal information in response to random inquiries). However, this inquiry was framed in terms of open justice (as a comparison with the recent changes in the equivalent British courts – see previous post) using Karina’s case a specific example. It was not a request for information about a specific patient as such.

Further emails have been sent to the Ministers for Health and Justice repeating the query and setting out more detailed questions for response/comment. I will provide further updates as and when any replies are received.


The human rights issue 

In my previous post, I mentioned the human rights issues which apply to Karina’s case. As a European citizen in a country which has signed both the European Convention on Human Rights and the Lisbon Treaty (which includes the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights), Karina is entitled to the rights protection afforded by both. I haven’t written about this in detail before so I think it is necessary to clarify how that works.

It is often – and quite reasonably – assumed that these rights can only be argued in the European courts. This is not the case; where it is relevant, these rights can and should be argued alongside the primary relevant law in the domestic courts of each member state. This is best explained by using an example from a different area of law as it would be applied in the UK (the UK’s relationship with Europe is very similar to Denmark’s). This example uses the law relating to those claiming asylum from persecution in their country of origin:

X is an Afghan national who speaks good English. At some point during the occupation of Afghanistan by Coalition forces from 2001-2014, he (most are men rather than women) worked as an interpreter for the British army. Following the withdrawal of British forces in 2014, X is threatened by the Taliban and it becomes clear that both he and his family are at extreme risk. He flees to the UK and seeks asylum under UK law. His application is refused and he appeals to the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal.

X’s appeal is based firstly on the UK’s domestic legislation which governs asylum applications. However, alongside that argument, he can claim that his rights under the Convention/Charter have been interfered with (breached). Depending on his circumstances, he could argue that one or more of these rights has been subject to interference by the UK state in its refusal to grant him asylum.

For example, he could argue the right not to be tortured (as he almost certainly would be if the UK returned him to Afghanistan) under Article 3 of the Convention. So, in the UK courts, he argues firstly on the grounds of the domestic law relating to asylum and secondly on the grounds of the human rights law which has been incorporated into the UK’s national law from Europe.

So – back to Karina; in her case, the arguments which hypothetically might have been made on her behalf could have used the following areas of law:-

  1. The local law of Denmark which governs the treatment of those who are found to lack capacity resulting in the appointment of a legal guardian and
  2. The human rights law which has been incorporated into Danish law from Europe which each member state is required to consider as part of their internal judicial process (eg. in Karina’s case – the right not to be deprived of one’s liberty/right to private and family life).

In other words, human rights law is already potentially engaged from the earliest stage of legal proceedings in all cases, including Karina’s. We don’t have to wait to get to Europe to make that argument. 



In my previous post, I referred to the case of American teenager, Justina Pelletier who was taken from the care of her family and put into state custody in a manner which reflected Karina’s situation (there are some differences but the result was similar). Since I wrote that post, it has been announced that Justina’s family is to sue Boston Children’s Hospital for its role in detaining her.

In Justina’s case, a court ruling reversing the previous order was needed to secure her final release from the Hospital. However, this ruling came about after Massachusetts Department for Children and Families – which had originally filed for Justina to be placed in the custody of the state – dropped its opposition to her release following widespread publicity.

Using Justina’s case as an example, we can assume that a two-pronged approach is required in order to facilitate Karina’s release:

  • The first prong is to continue an appropriate challenge to the claimed legal validity underpinning the decisions which leave Karina deteriorating rapidly in a “rehabilitation centre” – an institution which shows no signs of rehabilitating her and every sign of prolonging her acute physical and mental distress.
  • The second prong is increased dissemination of information to the media – in Denmark and internationally – so that the apparent injustice inherent in such aggressive state action is highlighted as widely as possible.

Perhaps then Karina’s lonely vigil will cease and she will be able to follow in Justina’s footsteps, back to her own family.


Disclosure: I have lived with the illness ME since 1981. For more information see About.



21 Comments leave one →
  1. Sally permalink
    March 7, 2016 10:48

    Thank you Valerie. I am following with interest, and some glimmer of hope for change for Karina.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. March 7, 2016 12:06

    Reblogged this on Short Blogs for the Distracted……… and commented:
    Thank you Valerie , such a shame we are no further forward in getting karina home with her family..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. March 7, 2016 20:20

    Why do you write all these lies

    Just to name two no Karina was not able to walk when she was removed from home

    Karina was not removed from home because of the diagnose and the dispute


    • Jack permalink
      March 7, 2016 21:50

      Karina was not wheelchair bound before being removed from her home.

      Since you know why she was removed, tell us. And by the way, this article and its comments are being sent out around the world so please, do tell what you know.


    • March 7, 2016 22:45

      Really? Why then was she removed? And if this was such a great idea, why has she not improved in 3 years? Some hospital.

      I’d also love to know why she is not allowed visits from her family or (as I understand it) her attorney. Can you tell us, Mr. Jensen? What are you hiding?

      FWIW, the end is drawing near for those who believe M.E. is a somatoform disease. Then what are you going to do?

      I am an advocate in the United States. Trust me, this case is being watched internationally and Denmark’s reputation has suffered as a result.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Joan permalink
        March 8, 2016 02:04

        She has not been tested for multiple infections, it is a big scandal 😦

        ME is just a diagnose that doctors use, with no known course, but in fact they refuse to test us for seriously infections.

        The psyciatrics has a big power in Denmark, chronic ill patients is psykosomatic and hypocondria, and we risk mismedicated and wrong treated for life.


  4. Freda permalink
    March 8, 2016 07:41

    So sad, what have they done to her??


    • March 8, 2016 12:09

      Freda thats the big question and the doctors are not allowed to tell anybody not even family that would be against the law in Denmark so if anyone tells you they know why she went to the hospital and what has been going on for the last 3 years its a Lie


      • Aureu permalink
        March 8, 2016 16:13

        Psychiatry is the worst pandemy we have in this century. No one should been forced to take antipsicotics, antidepresives etc after the scandal that is now days in the public light of how people have been used as a guinea pigs, abused and lives destroyed to enrich a few and control the system, a very sad story. There is thousands of scientific evidence of what this kind of medication makes on humans. But no war last hundred years. This is the holocaust of the 21 century, a few great psychiatrist have been tried to do their best to stop this but it would need the effort of a big majority to free our society of this endemic abuse. For example American psychiatris Loren Moshe, not the only one. The people needs to get together otherwise this will continue been the holocaust in our own houses and countries.


  5. Barbara gleed permalink
    March 8, 2016 11:37

    I live in UK. It worries me that drs and judges have such power over us. Patients and families do not seem to have a day. So sad.


  6. Helle permalink
    March 19, 2016 14:03

    Thank you valerie!

    Liked by 1 person


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