The National Police arrested the couple on Monday. | Alejandro Sepúlveda

A Guinean couple have been detained by the National Police in Palma for physical assault on their two daughters (ages 12 and 14) who had not wanted to practise Islam or wear veils. The pair were arrested on Monday and face charges of child mistreatment and causing injury and offences contrary to the family environment.

Some days ago, teachers and health personnel became aware of signs of abuse. The Majorca Social Services Institute, a Council of Majorca body, then presented a report to the police and judicial authorities. Teachers and social workers were told that their father had committed repeated assaults and that their mother had allowed these to happen.

One of the girls, it is understood, had marks on her back that had been caused by a belt and a phone charger cable. The father had lashed the girls in order to teach them "the right way". He had told the girls that they had to wear veils and to dress like their mother. When they refused, he became furious and assaulted them. The mother did nothing to prevent this.

The girls' statements indicate that arrangements had been made for one of them to be sent to Guinea in a few months time. A marriage contract had been entered into. They make clear that their father attaches great importance to Islam and to the wearing of veils. These statements, it is said, are consistent and without contradiction.