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Did Saudi Couple Hammer 24 Heated Nails into Maid's Body?

The detail of an X-ray film held up by a doctor shows nails driven into the hand of a Sri Lankan housemaid (STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images

Did Saudi Couple Hammer 24 Heated Nails into Maid's Body?
The detail of an X-ray film shows nails driven into the hand of a Sri Lankan housemaid (STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CBS/AP) Doctors removed 13 nails and five needles from a Sri Lankan maid who says the couple she worked for in Saudi Arabia tortured her, hammering the objects into her body.

L.G. Ariyahathi, 49, suffered from severe pain and was hospitalized after returning from Saudi Arabia Saturday. Ariyahathi told authorities that the couple she worked for punished her by heating nails and needles before sticking the sharp items into her body.

X-rays indicated that she had a total of 24 nails and needles in her body, according to Dr. Keerthi Satharasignhe of Kamburupitiya hospital, about 100 miles outside the capital, Colombo.

The nails removed from Ariyahathi's legs and forehead ranged in length from one to two inches, while the needles were about one inch long.

According to Satharasinghe, she had six more needles in her hand that could not be removed because operation would risk damaging her nerves and arteries, but the doctor said that they would not be harmful to her.

Sri Lanka's Foreign Employment Bureau said Ariyawathi feared reporting the horrid abuse to Saudi authorities because she believed her employers would not let her return home.

Ariyawathi traveled to Saudi Arabia to work for the couple in March, but was paid only two months salary, the pair reportedly held the rest of her earnings to buy an plane ticket to send her home, she told the Lakbima newspaper.

"They did not allow me to even rest. The woman at the house had heated the nails and then the man inserted them into my body," Ariyawathi told the publication.

Approximately 1.5 million Sri Lankans work in overseas to earn higher salaries, nearly 400,000 work in Saudi Arabia alone.

Deputy Minister of Economic Development Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said the government would report the incident to the Saudi government and provide her compensation.

  • Naimah Jabali-Nash

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