Hundreds of women who returned to the country yesterday from detention camps in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, claimed that they had been subjected to torture. They charged that the Sri Lanka Embassy did not return monies they took from them. The women charged they had not been issued receipts for the money taken from them.
The women aged between 18 and 50 years had gone to Saudi Arabia seeking employment as house maids. They said that they had been incarcerated when they complained to the police of harassment by their employers.
The women who were in a detention camp were deported at Saudi government expense.
Rohini Dhanapala of Anuradhapura said that some Sri Lankan women had been in detention camps for over 5 to 6 years. She claimed that many women were thrown into prison when they demanded their wages. She added that a number of Lankan women had been murdered, but the Embassy had done nothing to prevent these incidents. She added that Embassy personnel had taken sums ranging from 1,100 to 4,000 Saudi Riyals from them but did not return the money.
Rohini complained that during the five months she worked in that country she received no food or clothing and at times was forced to sleep in the toilet. She claimed that her hair was also forcibly cut by her employer.She said that conditions in prison were extremely bad with no drinking water or bathing facilities being made available to the detainees.
She advised Sri Lankan girls not to seek employment in Saudi.