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Maid in Saudi Arabia 'tortured with hot nails and needles'

A Sri Lankan maid returned from her job in Saudi Arabia with 24 nails inside her body -- after being tortured by the family who employed her.

LG Ariyawathi's body is riddled with needles and nails, which are scheduled to be removed today, a doctor confirmed yesterday.

Ms Ariyawathi (49) returned to Sri Lanka last Saturday from Saudi Arabia and was hospitalised the next day with severe pain. She told a local newspaper that her employers tortured her with the nails as punishment.

"They (employer and his family) did not allow me even to rest. The woman at the house had heated the nails and then the man inserted them into my body," Ms Ariyawathi was quoted as saying in the 'Lakbima', a newspaper published in local Sinhalese language.

She told the paper that she went to Saudi Arabia in March and was paid only two months' salary, with her employer withholding three months' salary to buy a ticket to send her home.

Dr HKK Satharasinghe of Kamburupitiya hospital said X-rays showed Ms Ariyawathi had 24 nails and needles in her body. The nails range from 1-2 inches.

Her initial puncture wounds had healed over, the doctor said. However, she found it difficult to walk because she had two nails in her knee and two in her ankles. Another needle was in her forehead, and the rest were in hands, he said.

The 24 nails are "inside the body due to torture meted out by her Saudi employer," Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, deputy minister of economic development, said.

Mr Abeywardena said the government would "report about this matter to the Saudi government and provide her adequate compensation".

It is understood that Ms Ariyawathi had been too afraid to complain about the abuse to Saudi authorities, fearing her employers might not let her return home.

About 1.5 million Sri Lankans work abroad, nearly 400,000 of them in Saudi Arabia alone.

Belfast Telegraph