Daddy's home: Azizul's children (from left) Adam, Aishah, Ariff and Ammar greeting him upon his return at KLIA.
SEPANG: It was hardly surprising that the moment Azizul Raheem Awalluddin touched down at the KL International Airport, there was only one thing on his mind – see his children.
And all four of them – Aishah Azizul Raheem, 15, and sons Ammar, 13, Adam, 12, and Ariff, eight – were there for the tearful reunion.
Convicted with his wife Shalwati Nurshal for abusing their children while in Sweden, the Tourism Malaysia director, based in Stockholm, had been separated from them for seven months.
“Praise be to God! I am able to come home and complete the holy month of Ramadan with my children and celebrate Hari Raya with them,” said Azizul, who arrived at 5.45pm yesterday.
“My return today is also a special gift for my mother, who celebrates her birthday today.”
Azizul was released last Wednesday from Swedish custody. The Solna District Court sentenced Azizul to 10 months and Shalwati to 14 months’ imprisonment on March 28.
Shalwati was found guilty of hitting all four children while Azizul was convicted of abusing their youngest son in a case that hogged the headlines.
Shalwati is still serving her sentence in the Swedish capital and is expected to be released on Sept 29.
Taking into account the three months the parents spent in detention during the trial plus early release for good behaviour, the parents were only to serve about three and six months of their sentences respectively.
The four children has been placed in the custody of their aunt Shalena and her husband Nik Farid Nik Abdullah in Kota Baru since Feb 1.
On the treatment he received in prison, Azizul said the wardens were professional but said he had to eat vegetarian food as the meat served was not halal.
On his immediate plans, Azizul said he did not wish to return to Stockholm.
Asked about his children, Azizul said he would “act responsibly as a parent”.
He had a word of advice for parents going for duty overseas with their children: “Be sure to follow the local laws.”