Ban strands family

Barred: Dawood Hepplewhite.
Barred: Dawood Hepplewhite.
Have your say

A CAR mechanic stranded in Canada when airline bosses refused to let him board a plane is finally on his way home to Sheffield.

Dawood Hepplewhite, aged 30, was barred from boarding a flight in Toronto last Sunday because he was on the USA’s no-fly list - a roster of terrorists and security threats.

The self-employed car mechanic was trying to fly back to the UK with his Canadian wife and their three children.

He said he thought he was on the list because he once had an interview in Yemen for a job as an English teacher.

Mr Hepplewhite added: “I’m just a family guy. I go to work and go home. I’ve never been in any groups.

“The only thing I can see is that I am a white Muslim.”

Mr Hepplewhite divides his time between Sheffield and Toronto and has flown regularly between the two without any problems.

His wife Farhi, who was raised in Canada, has been trying to sponsor her husband so they could live together permanently in Canada.

On his latest trip he had been in the country since October 29.

The family tried several different airlines but each said they could not breach the USA’s no-fly list because the flight route went over American soil.

Mr Hepplewhite was beginning to despair when the British Consulate intervened, managing to secure flights for the whole family.

He said a consular official called with a “one-time offer” to fly them to Glasgow.

“They said I’m a family guy and they’re doing it as a goodwill gesture,” he said.

“It’s a good sigh of relief, but I don’t think this is going to be the last of it.”

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman told The Star: “We can confirm that we provided consular assistance to a British national in Canada who was unable to return to the UK.

“Officials from the Consulate in Toronto were in touch with him and provided advice on the options available to him.”

Canadian civil rights activists have challenged the validity of the no-fly list.

They have raised concerns about the implication for international human rights.