Glasgow vet stranded by US flight ban thanks fundraisers

The vet was hit by Donald Trump's order banning entry for nationals of seven countries.

Vet: Hamaseh Tayari was left stranded. <strong>University of Glasgow</strong>
Vet: Hamaseh Tayari was left stranded. University of Glasgow

A Glasgow-based vet left stranded after US President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown has thanked those who raised thousands of pounds for a flight back to Scotland.

Hamaseh Tayari, who holds an Iranian passport, was due to fly back to the city via New York on Saturday following a holiday in Costa Rica.

She was left “shocked” and “afraid” after being prevented from doing so by the executive order signed by Mr Trump imposing a 90-day ban on entry to the US for nationals from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

More than £6,000 has been raised through a crowdfunding page set up by Kathleen Caskie from the Women for Independence organisation to cover the cost of alternative flights via Madrid.

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Women For Independence said the £2,600 needed had been passed to Ms Tayari, with the remainder of donations going to the Scottish Refugee Council.

On Twitter, the organisation said: “Hamaseh has sent this message; I would like to say thanks somehow to all of you and the people that contributed! Thanks to get us back at home. Safe and sound and in peace!”

Ms Tayari, who grew up in Italy, is a postgraduate veterinary student at the University of Glasgow. It is hoped she will be able to return to Scotland on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the university said it was “extremely concerned” by the developments and would do all it could to support her. 

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Professor Anton Muscatelli, principal of the university, added: “I have spoken with Dr Hamaseh Tayari, our veterinary student who was unable to travel back to Glasgow from holiday in Costa Rica through the United States because she holds an Iranian passport.

“She has been overwhelmed by the messages of support she has had on social media and will be travelling back to Scotland, via Spain, in the next 24 hours. The University has made clear that we will do all we can to help Hamaseh.

“We look forward to welcoming her back on campus. The University would also like to acknowledge and to thank the many people who have been in touch and who pledged and provided support on social media.

“The University provides advice and guidance to staff and students if they find themselves in difficulties when overseas, and we will be reviewing this in the light of this weekend’s events.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The Scottish Government is closely monitoring the situation and we have made contact with the UK Government to raise the case.

“We stand ready to offer whatever assistance we can to Ms Tayari or her family at this difficult time.”

Mr Trump’s order barred all refugees from entering the US for four months and indefinitely halted any from Syria.

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He said the ban was needed to keep out “radical Islamic terrorists”.

The move immediately suspended a programme that last year resettled in the US about 85,000 people displaced by war, political oppression, hunger and religious prejudice.

Downing Street said on Sunday morning that Prime Minister Theresa May does “not agree” with the move after a backlash over her failure to criticise it.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “PM must make clear our obligation to give refuge to those fleeing war/persecution and opposition to banning people based on origin or faith.”

Ms Sturgeon said she planned to raise the issue when she meets with Mrs May at the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) in Cardiff on Monday.

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson described the ban as “both wrong in itself and very worrying for the future” while Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said it was “heartbreaking”.


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