Buddha tattoo woman Naomi Coleman wins compensation

A woman who was deported from Sri Lanka for having a tattoo of the Buddha on her arm has won compensation from the country’s Supreme Court over her treatment.

Naomi Coleman, from Coventry, took legal action after being detained for four days in April 2014.

She was granted compensation and costs amounting to 800,000 Sri Lankan rupees – around £4,000.

Officers involved in her arrest were also ordered to pay her compensation.

‘Really frightened’

Ms Coleman’s lawyer, JC Weliamuna told the BBC her deportation had been “contrary to the law governing immigration and emigration”.

Speaking after her return to the UK, Ms Coleman, who was arrested at Bandaranaike International Airport in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, said the detention had left her “really frightened”.

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

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

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

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

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