14/08/2014 16:50 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Abusive Parents 'Waterboarded' Children

Parents 'waterboarded' children

A couple have appeared in court in Belgium accused of carrying out horrific acts of child abuse against their four children.

Sebastien Hardenne and Isabelle Simon are facing 10 years in jail for the alleged tortured of their son and three daughters.

The couple were first reported back in 2003 after concerns were raised by the children's schools about their welfare, but social services did not then intervene. Now, their father is accused of carrying out 10 years of abuse against them.

The court heard that the children were kept locked in a room at night, with their food served through a hole in the wall.

Their dad urinated in their mouths and used 'water-boarding' torture similar to that allegedly used at America's Guantanamo Bay prison. He is also said to have hit them with iron bars, and tortured them with an electronic fly swatter.

The Mail reports the two little girls were locked in a suitcase smeared with dog excrement and swung around a room.

The youngsters - now aged 11 to around 16 - are being permanently cared for by social services.

A neighbour of the family told Belgian reporters that she feels ill that she didn't realise what was going on.

"It makes me feel physically ill to realise now the extent of what the children were suffering and that I didn't spot it," Anne-Marie Durieux said.

The couple's lawyer Jacqueline Petit said the parents 'felt sorry' for what they had done and gave the court a letter of apology from them to be passed on to their children.

The case continues.