Mirror News 22 January 2014
A Malaysian couple who allegedly smacked their son for not saying his prayers are being held in custody in Sweden.
Azizul Raheem Awalludin, the Tourism Malaysia director in Stockholm, and his wife Shalwati Nurshal, a secondary school teacher, were arrested after the boy told staff at his school about the incident, who reported them to the authorities.
All forms of corporal punishment are banned in the Scandinavian country, from smacking to hair pulling, and have been since 1979.
The couple have not yet been charged, but if convicted they face a mandatory jail sentence of at least nine months.
The boy and his three siblings, aged 14, 11 and seven, have been placed in temporary foster care, but even if the pair are cleared, they will still lose custody of all four children and have to apply to a court to get them back.
Although the boy didn’t suffer any injury, the alleged incident came to light after teachers noticed he was ‘dispirited’ and quizzed him about what was wrong.
He confided in a teacher who then called in police and his parents, both in their early 40s, were arrested on December 18.
A campaign is underway to free the pair, with politicians in Malaysia describing the children being separated from their parents as ‘abuse.’
One MP, Dr Mujahid, Yusof Rawa said: “The issue of Sweden being against child spanking is one question.
“However, the detention and separation of the children from their parents is another question altogether. To me, this itself is a form of abuse.”
Human Rights lawyer Padang Serai MP N.Surendran called the action ‘disproportionate and extreme.’
He said: “This was not a case of abusive parents and the punishment made by the couple was not serious.”