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British nurse sues SL over Buddha tattoo ordeal

22 May 2014 10:45 am - 28     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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British nurse sues Sri Lanka over Buddha tattoo ordealA British tourist thrown out of Sri Lanka for sporting a Buddha tattoo is suing local authorities for $78,000 over her ordeal, which allegedly included sexual harassment, her lawyer said Thursday.

Naomi Coleman filed the action in the Supreme Court in Colombo on Wednesday seeking 10 million rupees ($78,000) in compensation from Sri Lanka's police, immigration and prison authorities.

"We have filed the papers on the basis that her rights were violated as a result of her arrest, detention and deportation," lawyer Vishwa de Livera Tennekoon told AFP. A hearing date has not yet been set.

Coleman, a 37-year-old mental health nurse, was arrested shortly after arriving at Sri Lanka's main international airport in April over the tattoo on her upper right arm, which authorities found offensive.

Sri Lanka, a majority Buddhist nation, is highly sensitive to perceived insults to the religion.

A local magistrate ordered Coleman's jailing and deportation three days later over the tattoo, which shows Buddha seated on a pink lotus flower.

Coleman has told AFP that she feared being raped during her one-night stay in Negombo prison near the airport, after a male prison guard made lewd gestures indicating he wanted to have sex with her.

A female guard at Negombo also demanded a bribe to avoid undergoing a "thorough" body search, she said. Coleman was later transferred to a detention centre in Colombo before her deportation on April 24.

Sri Lanka's Tourism Promotion Bureau paid for her return ticket and has expressed regret for the entire incident.

Coleman has insisted that she is a devout Buddhist and that the tattoo is a mark of respect.

Sri Lanka barred another British tourist from entering the island in March last year for showing "disrespect" to Buddhism by having a Buddha tattooed on his arm.

In August 2012 three French tourists were sentenced to six months in jail, which was suspended for five years, for kissing a Buddha statue in what authorities considered a sign of disrespect.

Sri Lanka prevented US rap star Akon from visiting in 2010 over a music video that featured scantily clad women dancing in front of a Buddha statue.(AFP)
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  Comments - 28

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  • Tony Montana Thursday, 22 May 2014 02:34 PM

    Good luck sue this bastard.

    patriot Thursday, 22 May 2014 04:39 PM

    gonsun ge wadak - illan kava. via DM Android App

    ANTON Thursday, 22 May 2014 11:12 AM

    IN SRILANKA ANY ONE IS ALLOWED TO DRAW BUDDHA PICTURES , ANYWHERE IN VESAK SEASON.

    puswedilla Thursday, 22 May 2014 08:23 PM

    go for it naomi show all the genuine Buddhists in Sri Lanka are with you and ashamed at the way the corrupt posts here treated you. via DM Android App

    Rohan Thursday, 22 May 2014 08:27 PM

    There were photos in her Facebook account she took sitting on the lap of a Buddhist statue on her past visit to Sri Lanka. Im very doubtful of her claim shes a devoted Buddhist. via DM Android App

    srinath.gunaratne Thursday, 22 May 2014 11:19 AM

    Great Work Naomi. All the best to you

    Fight these fake guardians of Buddhism, It is sad it had to be someone from the Briton to fight to save Buddhism. All our big Buddhists and monks should be ashamed for the treatment meted to this devotee.

    As one said, Illan kanawa!

    Tony Thursday, 22 May 2014 03:13 PM

    She once claimed to be a Buddhist now claims compensation,
    Please have her mental health checked for greed.

    Public Friday, 23 May 2014 01:14 AM

    We Public think its time for the Ministry of Health to appoint her as a qualified Nurse in any of Hospitals in Sri Lanka.

    Pissek Thursday, 22 May 2014 11:36 AM

    I goes its okay for Provincial Council member to "Rape" foreigners in public but oooooohh... A tattoo of a Budha by an individual who is a devout Buddhist is considered a jail-able offence ... You Must be kidding me GOSL .. #onlyinSriLankaa..

    Malij Friday, 23 May 2014 06:55 AM

    Tolerance is one of the great things taught by Lord Buddha.

    Ruan Dayananda Friday, 23 May 2014 01:30 AM

    Go Girl!!!

    dass Thursday, 22 May 2014 11:43 AM

    instead of Buddha tattoo mark your back with president's face. you will be honored and famous.

    jim pappa Friday, 23 May 2014 07:09 AM

    Two wrongs don't make one right !

    sach Thursday, 22 May 2014 11:48 AM

    I dont accept what authorities did. but sexual harassment is a false case here. read what she had said in telegraph uk. She has not mentioned any such thing.

    Leena Friday, 23 May 2014 07:42 AM

    You won't believe SL officers would sexually harass anyone?

    kumar Thursday, 22 May 2014 12:00 PM

    Good job! Wish you all the success!

    observer Saturday, 24 May 2014 03:27 PM

    SO TRUE!!!

    Damith Friday, 23 May 2014 03:09 AM

    sue your parents for bringing you to this world with a tattoo.

    BuffaloaCitizen Friday, 23 May 2014 03:10 AM

    She only treats human beings and is not used to treating and working with monkeys.

    Yuri Thursday, 22 May 2014 06:33 PM

    Why do not sue the SL gov in UK and they will freez the bank ac of the Sri Lankan embassy. and pay you.

    Ranjith Seneviratne Friday, 23 May 2014 03:19 AM

    Buddhist crazy country bur all these crooks including monka do not know the true version and teachings of Buddhism.

    Dumindu Friday, 23 May 2014 03:28 AM

    Help save Buddhism from Srilankan SINHALESE BUDDHISTS.

    Rationalist Thursday, 22 May 2014 06:11 PM

    A case badly handled by morons in the Immigration Dept and equally botched by their superiors. via DM iPad app

    Lawry Friday, 23 May 2014 04:35 AM

    Regardless of her previous visits and Rohan's claim of seeing her sitting on laps. The arrest and harassment ruined Sri Lanka's image as a Buddhist country.

    garawi Friday, 23 May 2014 09:02 AM

    [quote name="malinda"]anyone can wear a buddahs picture on neck..but tatooing wrong...bullshit..wht should regard is wht is in da tatooo via DM Android App[/quote]
    Wearing Buddha pictures on the body is not accepted!

    malinda Thursday, 22 May 2014 06:47 PM

    anyone can wear a buddahs picture on neck..but tatooing wrong...bullshit..wht should regard is wht is in da tatooo via DM Android App

    Ando Friday, 23 May 2014 04:54 AM

    Thanks a lot for that action Naomi.

    silva Friday, 23 May 2014 05:10 AM

    The good thing is no photo in religion since Almighty GOD has no picture equal to GOD's creation


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