May 22 (AFP) A 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 g