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17 April 2024

Sri Lankan maid alleges nail torture in Kuwait

Sri Lankan housemaid V. R. Lechchami, 38, lies on her hospital bed in the northwestern town of Kurunegala. Lechchami, underwent surgery to remove nine out of the 14 nails inside her body. The doctor said the woman had told surgeons that her Kuwaiti employers drove the nails into her hands and left leg - some as long as 3.5 centimetres (1.5 inches) - when she asked for her salary after working for six months. (AFP)

Published
By AFP

A Sri Lankan housemaid has accused her Kuwaiti employer of hammering 14 nails into her body, in the second such incident in the past few months, a local doctor said Saturday.

The woman, identified only as Lechchami, 38, underwent surgery to have the nails removed after returning home to Sri Lanka, the director of the hospital in the northwestern town of Kurunegala said.

"We have removed nine out of the 14 wire nails that showed up in X-rays," hospital director Soma Rajamanthri told AFP.

The doctor said the woman had told surgeons that her Kuwaiti employers drove the nails into her hands and left leg - some as long as 3.5 centimetres (1.5 inches) - when she asked for her salary after working for six months.

"We can't verify her story, but she said the husband-and-wife couple who employed her did this to her," Rajamanthri said.

A police spokesman said the case was under investigation.

In August, another housemaid complained her Saudi employer drove 24 nails into her arms, legs and forehead as punishment. Most of them were removed by surgeons at Sri Lanka's Kamburupitiya hospital.

The Saudi government and private sector officials in Riyadh have questioned the credibility of the woman's allegations.

Some 1.8 million Sri Lankans are employed abroad, of whom 70 percent are women. Most work as housemaids in the Middle East while smaller numbers work in Singapore and Hong Kong, seeking higher salaries than they would get at home.

Non-governmental organisations report frequent cases of employer abuse of maids who work abroad.