Dad: I hit my kids to discipline them

Mr Azizul Raheem Awalludin and Madam Shalwati Nurshal.

STOCKHOLM - The Malaysian father on trial here with his wife for allegedly hitting their children said he did so to discipline them but never to inflict pain.

Azizul Raheem Awalluddin said he beat his children about two to three times a year, back when the family was still in Malaysia and Africa.

Azizul, a Tourism Malaysia director here, is the first of the couple to testify.

He was giving evidence on the seventh day of their trial at the Solna district court, here.

"The idea is to make children know what they did was wrong, not to make them suffer or (be) in pain," said Azizul.

Azizul and his wife Shalwati Nurshal were detained on Dec 18 last year, after their second child Ammar told staff at his school that he had been hit, leading them to report the matter to the authorities.

Wearing a black jacket and brass-coloured tie, Azizul cautiously answered the questions put forward by prosecutor Anna Arnell in Swedish, which was translated into English by a court interpreter.

Azizul, on several occasions, said he did not remember the specifics of the beatings, prompting the prosecution to ask if these could have occurred despite his forgetting it.

Azizul admitted that it might have happened, but he did not remember as time had passed.

When Anna asked if he was a strict parent, Azizul answered that he had become less strict after his second youngest, Adam, was kicked out of kindergarten in Africa, due to learning disabilities.

"After that I was not as strict. I was touched that Adam had been sent to a disabled child's school," said Azizul, dabbing away tears.

The court allowed for a 15-minute break to allow Azizul to regain his composure.

Asked why he bought a rotan, Azizul said it was a souvenir during a trip back to Malaysia in 2008.

"When you're in a foreign country, you try to make your children familiar with Malaysian customs.

"I explained that the rotan was used by teachers to discipline children, so they wouldn't get a culture shock when they got home," added Azizul.

Anna asked Azizul if he had been beaten with a rotan when he was younger, to which Azizul replied that he had only been beaten by teachers and that it hurt.

When asked "why it hurt", Azizul appeared confused before playfully asking the prosecutor to try it on herself.

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 Spnga, a Stockholm suburb, between Sept 15, 2010 and Dec 17, 2013.

The trial continues.