Updated: 04/22/2014 10:00 | By Agence France-Presse

Sri Lanka detains British tourist over Buddha tattoo

Sri Lanka has detained a female British tourist for having a Buddha tattoo on her right arm and ordered her deportation, police said Tuesday.


Sri Lanka detains British tourist over Buddha tattoo

File photo of the departure terminal of the international airport in Colombo, where a female British tourist has been arrested for having a Buddha tattoo on her right arm - by Sanka Vidanagama

The unidentified woman was arrested at the country's main international airport on Monday and appeared before a magistrate who ordered her deportation, police said in a statement.

The statement said she had an image of the Buddha seated on a lotus flower tattooed on her right arm. 

"She was taken before the Negombo magistrate who ordered her to be detained prior to deportation," it said, adding that she was arrested shortly after her arrival on a flight from neighbouring India.

It did not say what charges were brought against her, but Sri Lanka barred another British tourist from entering the island in March last year for showing "disrespect" to Buddhism by having a Buddha tattooed on his arm.

Sri Lanka, a majority Buddhist nation, is highly sensitive to perceived threats to the religion.

In August 2012, three French tourists were sentenced to six months in jail, which was suspended for five years, for kissing a Buddha statue in what the authorities considered was a sign of disrespect.

Sri Lanka prevented US rap star Akon from visiting in 2010 over one of his music videos which featured scantily clad women dancing in front of a Buddha statue.

It was not immediately clear where the detained British woman would be deported to. 

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