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Sri Lanka to deport British tourist over Buddha tattoo

Buddha statues in lotus positions seen in a temple in Sri Lanka. Credit: DPA

A British tourist is to be deported from Sri Lanka because of a tattoo of Buddha on her arm.

Sri Lankan police said Naomi Michelle Coleman, 37, was arrested at Bandaranaike International Airport in the capital, Colombo, after she arrived from India.

A police spokesman said she was arrested for "hurting others' religious feelings" after the tattoo of a Buddha seated on a lotus flower was spotted on her right arm.

Buddhism is the religion of the country's majority ethnic Sinhalese and Buddhist tattoos are seen as culturally insensitive.

After her arrest Coleman appeared before a magistrate who ordered her deportation.

The spokesman said she is currently being held at an immigration detention centre until deportation and said she would be removed "very soon - it could be tomorrow or the day after tomorrow".