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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

23 Nails Found in Body of Tortured Maid


Published: Aug 25, 2010 01:08 Updated: Aug 25, 2010 01:08

RIYADH: Doctors in Sri Lanka have found 23 nails in the body of a tortured housemaid who returned to Colombo from Riyadh, Sri Lankan Embassy sources told Arab News on Tuesday.

“We have received this complaint from the Foreign Ministry in Colombo, who said the maid has been allegedly tortured by her sponsor,” a senior diplomat from the Sri Lankan mission in Riyadh told Arab News. “We are looking for the sponsor. We were able to track down the Saudi recruitment agent in Riyadh and we will summon the sponsor to discuss this issue,” the official said.

Doctors at the Kamburipitya Base Hospital in the Matara district, 140 km from Colombo, said the nails had been hammered into the maid’s body. Dr. Kamal Weeratunge, who was treating the maid, claimed the nails had been heated up before they punctured her skin.

On Sri Lankan television channel Newsfirst Sirasa, the maid showed the marks where the nails had gone through. The maid, identified as 50-year-old Ariyawathie, said that there were too many people to serve in the house where she worked.

“I had to work continuously since I had to do the chores of all the occupants and when I wanted to take rest due to tiredness, they inserted the nail in my body as a punishment,” she said.

“I had to work from dawn to dusk. I hardly slept. They beat me and threatened to kill me and hide my body.” She added that she arranged her travel documents to return home on her own expense. “They were really devils with no mercy at all,” she said.

According to records at the Sri Lankan Embassy, the maid came to the Kingdom on March 25. The diplomat said that the sponsor had bypassed the mission and made his own arrangements to send the woman home. “We can only deal with cases that come up before the mission,” he said. However, he added that the mission would take action following the complaint submitted to the embassy from Colombo.

The maid had come to Saudi Arabia after being registered at the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE).

SLBFE chairman Kingsley Ranawake said that a formal inquiry would be held with the concerned maid and appropriate action taken.

Who says Slavery isn't still happening in Saudi Arabia?