Swedish authority allows family reps to meet children of detained couple

19 Jan 2014 / 10:22 H.

    KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 18, 2014): The Swedish government has given approval for family representatives to meet the children of a Malaysian couple detained in Sweden for allegedly beating them for not praying.
    Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin said the approval was obtained today, thanks to the continuous efforts taken by the Malaysian Embassy's representatives in getting the cooperation from the relevant authorities in Sweden.
    "Everybody must understand that we have to adhere to the tight regulations there and that we don't want to interfere with the ongoing investigation.
    "After a little persuasion, they have started giving us some leeway," he told Bernama, when contacted, here today.
    The children's father, an employee of Tourism Malaysia in Stockholm, and mother, a school teacher who is on unpaid leave, were detained on Dec 18 and their remand has been extended for another two weeks.
    Hamzah said the positive development was hoped to give relief to the family.
    "We hope that the children are all safe, healthy, able to go to school and well-fed, and that the situation will not have psychological effect on them," he said.
    Meanwhile, Hamzah said the Swedish Social Service Department had also lauded Wisma Putra's suggestion for the children to be put under the care of a Muslim family.
    "We have given them the names of several Muslim families. The Social Service Department has given positive response, but this will need the approval from the public prosecutor, which will be obtained at any time now.
    Hamzah also explained that the decision to leave the children under the care of a non-Muslim family was made because they were the only family who could afford and willing to take the children in when the case arose.
    When asked about efforts taken by certain quarters to bring the children back to Malaysia, the deputy minister said all quarters needed to be patient and avoid politicising the issue.
    "It's not easy to bring the children back. Approval and consent from the parents and family members are needed. There are too many details that the public may not understand. We are trying to solve this issue nicely as it not only involves the family, but also the two countries," he added. – Bernama


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