KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 19 — The children of the Malaysian couple facing charges in Sweden for alleged child abuse have suggested that they suffer regular beatings at the hands of their mother, with one child even saying that they no longer hurt.
Citing statements from the children, Swedish news portal The Local reported that the children’s mother — Shalwati Norshal — has been hitting her kids for several years, even using items like a piece of wood, a coat hanger and a belt.
“I’ve become used to being hit by mum,” one of the children was quoted as saying.
“She started hitting me in the back and on the leg. Then she pinched me on the ear and hit me on the head,” another child reportedly said.
Shalwati, a secondary school teacher, previously claimed to have only beaten one child once.
She and her husband Azizul Raheem Awaluddin, who is a Tourism Malaysia officer based in Stockholm, stood trial at the Solna district court yesterday for assaulting their four children — who are aged between seven and 14 years — and for committing gross violation of their children’s integrity.
Azizul was reported by The Local as saying during an interrogation that he only beat his children the second time that they had done something wrong in order to “discipline them”.
According to another news report by local English daily The New Straits Times today, the prosecution’s multiple charges against the couple also include Azizul forcing one of the children to sit in a corner for eight hours without food.
The 12-year-old son also reportedly wrote a letter in which he apologised to his mother, saying “it was my anger that started this. I will always love you and nothing will change that.”
Another local daily, The Star, reported today Shalwati’s lawyer, Kristofer Stahre, as saying in court that the letter was found during a check in the couple’s house, but that the prosecution declined to tender it as evidence.
Prosecutor Anna Arnell was reported as saying that the letter was not taken by the prosecution because it appeared to be private communication between family members.
Shalwati and Azizul are accused of hitting their children at their home in Stockholm between September 15, 2010, and December 17, 2013.
They face between six months and six years’ jail for each charge.
The trial is set for 10 days until March 10.
The couple was detained on December 18 last year after being accused of beating their children for not praying.
Sweden, in 1979, was the first country in the world to outlaw corporal punishment.