Prosecutors in Sweden have charged a Malaysian couple with violent treatment of their four children, including beating them with belts and sticks.

The Stockholm public prosecutor's office says the alleged abuse occurred from 2010 until December 2013, when Swedish police arrested the couple. They have been in custody since then.

Swedish social services had been caring for the 7-to-14-year-old children. They were taken back to their home country by Malaysian government officials following a massive social media campaign calling for their return.

All forms of corporal punishment have been banned in Sweden since 1979.

If found guilty the couple could face up to six years in prison. The trial is to start later this month and is expected to last 10 days.