May 22, Colombo: A female British tourist deported by Sri Lanka for having a tattoo of Buddha on her arm has filed a lawsuit against Sri Lankan authorities seeking Rs. 10 million (US$ 78,000) in damages over the incident, AFP reported.
Naomi Coleman, a British nurse, has filed the lawsuit in the Supreme Court in Colombo on Wednesday seeking 10 million rupees in compensation from 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," her lawyer Vishwa de Livera Tennekoon has told AFP.
A hearing date has not yet been set.
The 37-year-old nurse from Coventry was arrested as she arrived at the Colombo International Airport after authorities spotted the tattoo featuring a Buddha sitting on top of a lotus flower on her right arm.
Sri Lanka, a Buddhist majority country, takes strict action against perceived insults to Buddhism.
Coleman had to spend a night in prison in Negombo, near the airport, after appearing in court before she was deported to the UK three days later. She was later transferred to a detention center in Colombo before her deportation on April 24.
Coleman has told AFP that she feared being raped during her one-night stay in the prison, after a male prison guard made lewd gestures indicating he wanted to have sex with her.
Sri Lanka's Tourism Development Authority expressed regret for the incident. The Authority paid for her flight home in business class and also offered to fly her back for a free holiday in future.