Son of Malaysian couple on child abuse trial in Sweden says sorry in letter

STOCKHOLM (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The trial of a 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.

The boy wrote in his letter: "Mummy, I love you. I'm sorry, it was my anger that started this. Love, Ammar. P.S, I will always love you."

The lawyer also submitted a comment made by Ammar to a classmate via Skype, where the 12 year old said how he hated his parents.

He 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 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 Malaysian couple were detained on 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.