Saudi couple hammer 24 nails into their Sri Lankan maid

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A Saudi couple tortured their Sri Lankan maid after she complained of a heavy workload by hammering 24 nails into her hands, legs and forehead.

LT Ariyawathi, 49, who has three children, has been taken to hospital for surgery to remove the nails, which she said were hammered in when hot. X-rays showed one- to two-inch nails in her hands and legs, with one over her eyes.

Mrs Ariyawathi returned home on Friday after five months in Saudi Arabia. Her family only realised what had happened to her when she complained of pain and they took her to see the doctor, Foreign Employment Bureau officials said.

Nearly 2 million Sri Lankans sought employment overseas last year and around 1.4 million, mostly maids, were employed in the Middle East. Many have complained of physical abuse or harassment.

The Sri Lankan External Affairs Ministry is to take up the matter with the Saudi government, officials said.