STOCKHOLM: The Malaysian mother on trial in Sweden for hitting her children has aired the family's dirty laundry in court, saying her kids not only had the capacity to lie about being beaten, but had motive to do so.
Shalwati Nurshal denied all charges against her, saying the incidents brought up by her children during police interviews were result of the children's confusion, exaggeration and in some cases, outright lies.
When asked by lawyer Johan Kallus, who represented the children, if the incidents were all lies, Shalwati admitted that the arguments were based on true events but the kids exaggerated the use of violence.
Sweden has outlawed corporal punishment since 1979, meaning Shalwati and her husband Azizul Raheem Awalluddin face up to six years prison if found guilty of hitting their children.
Shalwati revealed that her second child, Ammar, was an attention seeker and unhappy that his friends at school tended to ignore him.
"Ammar is immature, he thought he could be popular, be famous, if he told his friends he gets beaten at home," said Shalwati, pointing out that prosecutors found one of Ammar's conversation on Skype where the teenager said he hated his parents.
"What more do you need?" said Shalwati, choking back tears.
The mother of four also commented on how her youngest, Ariff, had not made any mention of being beaten during the first police interview but changed his story in an interview several weeks later.
"He idolises Ammar and is highly influenced by his older brother. The rotan he drew for police was a complete one (the rotan had snapped in half before they came to Sweden), which was used on Ammar back in South Africa," said Shalwati.
Though speaking poorly of her kids appeared to upset her, the former teacher kept a stern front and even gave the prosecutor a grammar lesson on modal verbs, leaving the translators struggling to explain.
Shalwati's counsel Kristofer Stahre asked if Shalwati's eldest, Aishah had the capacity to lie, eliciting a long sigh from his client.
Shalwati said Aishah had a tendency to lie to cover up things that was embarrassing to her directly, like how Aishah would lie about stealing chocolates as she was trying to diet for the last two years.
As for her second youngest, Adam, Shalwati said he had a tendency to become confused when questioned as he suffered from comprehension problems.
"In the interviews he looks so confused, he couldn't remember dates and kept misunderstanding the officers. It's saddening actually," said Shalwati.
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.
The trial continues March 10.