X-rays show 24 nails in maid's body

A SRI Lankan maid returned from her job in Saudi Arabia with 24 nails in her body — the result of torture by the family who employed her, a doctor and government officials have said.

LG Ariyawathi's body is riddled with needles and nails, scheduled to be removed today.

Ms Ariyawathi, 49, returned to Sri Lanka on Saturday from Saudi Arabia and was hospitalised the next day with severe pain at a facility about 100 miles from capital, Colombo, according to media reports.

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She told a local newspaper her employers had tortured her with the nails as punishment.

"They did not allow me even to rest. The woman had heated the nails and then the man inserted them into my body," Ms Ariyawathi was quoted as saying in the newspaper, Lakbima.

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 pay for her air ticket home.

Dr HKK Satharasinghe of Kamburupitiya hospital said X-rays showed she had 24 nails and needles in her body. The nails were up to 2in long.

The initial puncture wounds had healed over, the doctor said. However, she had trouble walking because she had two nails in her knee and two in her ankles.

There was a needle in her forehead and the rest were in her hands, he said.

"Her condition is stable, but we are giving antibiotics and painkillers," Dr Satharasinghe said.

Confirming the details, government minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said the case would be reported to the Saudi government, and Ms Ariyawathi would be given compensation.

Nearly 400,000 Sri Lankans work in Saudi Arabia, mostly as drivers or maids.

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