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UK woman with Buddha tattoo wins compensation from Lankan SC

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo/London 

A British woman tourist who was deported from in 2014 for having a tattoo of the on her arm today won Rs 800,000 as compensation from the island nation's Supreme over her treatment.

Naomi Coleman took legal action after being detained for four days in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo in April 2014.

Justice Anil Gooneratne with Justices Eva Wanasundera and Nalin Perera agreed with the judgement to award Coleman Rs 500,000 as compensation payable by the State and Rs 50,000 each by the two police officers who were involved in her arrest of the British national.

The apex also awarded Rs 200,000 as costs payable by the State, Sri Lankan newspaper Daily Mirror reported.

Sri Lankan authorities take strict action against perceived insults to Buddhism, which is the religion of the island's majority ethnic Sinhalese.

Coleman's lawyer, JC Weliamuna told the BBC that her deportation had been "contrary to the governing immigration and emigration".

A Sri Lankan police spokesman had said in 2014 that she was arrested for "hurting others' religious feelings" after the tattoo of seated on a lotus flower was spotted on her right arm.

Speaking after her return to the UK, Coleman, who was arrested at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo, said the detention had left her "really frightened".

"I was told I had to go to and then I started to get really worried," she said at the time.

Following her deportation order, she spent a night in prison in Negombo and two nights in a detention centre while security checks were carried out.

Coleman said she told police that she practised Buddhism and had attended meditation retreats and workshops in Thailand, India, Cambodia and Nepal.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, November 15 2017. 17:02 IST