STOCKHOLM: The trial of the Malaysian couple accused of abusing their children in Sweden began here on Tuesday, with the defence producing a letter in court, written by one of their children.
"I'm sorry, it was my anger that started this," wrote Ammar, 12, the second of four children of Azizul Raheem, a Tourism Malaysia director in Stockholm and his wife Shalwati Nurshal, a school teacher on unpaid leave.
Shalwati's counsel Kristofer Stahre, said it was difficult for Ammar to tolerate the pressure of being asked to help around the house, which made him hateful to his parents.
He added that Ammar was an attention-seeker and tended to exaggerate his stories.
Stahre read the letter in open court.
"Mummy, I love you. I'm sorry, it was my anger that started this. Love, Ammar. P.S, I will always love you," he read.
Stahre also submitted a comment made by Ammar to a classmate via Skype, where the 12 year old said how he hated his parents.
Stahre said the letter had been found by the prosecution during a check of the house, but declined to submit it as evidence.
Prosecutor Anna Arnell clarified that the letter was not seized by the prosecution, as it appeared to be a private communication between family members.
She added that in the interest of transparency, she had made note of the letter, which lead the defence finding it.
The case was heard before District Judge Mattias Möller in the Solna district courthouse, here, starting at 9.10am local time.
Azizul and Shalwati, who were wearing jackets, appeared tired when they were brought in.
They were sat alongside their counsel and were given earphones to listen to the translation of the proceedings, which were conducted in Swedish.
Azizul was represented by Jonas Tamm, while lawyer Timo Manninen held a watching brief for the Malaysian Tourism Ministry.
Also present in court were Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab and Malaysian Ambassador to Sweden Datuk Badruddin Abdul Rahman.
Shalwati and her husband were detained Dec 18 last year after Ammar told staff at his school that he had been hit.
The staff then reported the matter to the authorities.
On Feb 10, Shalwati and Azizul were charged with multiple counts of gross violation of a child's integrity, by hitting and abusing their children.
The alleged offences took place in the family's home in Spånga, a Stockholm suburb, between September 15, 2010 and December 17, 2013.
Under Section 4a, Chapter 4 (on crimes against liberty and peace) of the Swedish Penal Code, the Malaysian parents could face between six months to six years prison for each charge.