Staying strong: Siblings (from left) Adam, Ammar, Ariff and Aishah seen together as they start their school sessions in Kelantan in early February. - Bernama
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian couple accused of child abuse in Sweden has been found guilty and sentenced to prison by the Solna District Court.
Azizul Raheem Awalluddin, who is in Sweden as a Tourism Malaysia director, and his wife Shalwati Norshal will also have to pay damages to their four children.
Shalwati, a teacher who took unpaid leave to join her husband over there, was sentenced to 14 months in prison for gross violation of the integrity of their daughter and eldest son, as well as for assaulting their two younger sons.
Azizul will serve a 10-month sentence for gross violation of the integrity of his eldest son and for assault of his daughter and second oldest son.
He was, however, acquitted of any offences against his youngest son.
Yesterday, the court also ordered Shalwati, 46, and Azizul, 38, to pay compensation to their children in the sum of 67,200 SEK (RM33,900) and 36,400 SEK (RM18,362) respectively.
Shalwati’s counsel Kristofer Stahre said she was not appealing. With one-third remission on the sentence and discounting the three months already spent in detention, Shalwati will be released in about six months and Azizul in less than four months.
District Judge Mattias Möller said even if the violence was relatively minor, he found it fell “under the more serious charge of gross violation of integrity involving systemic and repeated violence”.
He said the children’s testimony was “highly credible” and there was “nothing to support the idea that the children wanted to harm their parents by inventing incorrect information”.
“Most of the violence has been inflicted with the hands but a cane — called a rotan — and a clothes hanger have been used as well,” said Judge Möller in a press release issued by the District Court.
He, however, rejected the prosecution’s request to deport the couple at the end of their sentence.
The judge’s full 61-page verdict was posted on the court’s website, though only in Swedish.
Shalwati and Azizul have been in detention since Dec 18, last year after their second child, Ammar told staff at his school that he had been hit at home, leading them to report the matter to the authorities.
The couple was charged on Feb 10 with multiple counts of gross violation of a child’s integrity.
The offences took place in the family home in Spånga, a Stockholm suburb, between Sept 15, 2010 and Dec 17, last year.
Sweden has outlawed corporal punishment since 1979 and is known to punish offenders heavily, with the minimum prison sentence being nine months.
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