Couple detained on honeymoon ‘because the groom is Muslim’

25th Aug 2017

Nadine Osman

A newlywed British couple’s honeymoon was ruined after they were detained at LAX airport in Los Angeles for 26 hours and then deported, apparently because the groom was Muslim.

Natasha Politakis, 29, and her new husband Ali Gul, 32, who is of Turkish descent paid £7,000 for a two-week trip to LA, Hawaii and Las Vegas in May, but Gul was stopped when he arrived at LAX.

The couple, from Enfield in North London, ended up having to spend more than a day in the airport before being refused entry and flown back to the UK.

While in the detention centre, they were refused a shower and had all of their possessions confiscated. They were only given their phones back when they were back on British soil.
When they tried to find out why they were detained, officials handcuffed them and marched them onto a flight back to London.

Although they were never told why they were denied entry, Natasha suspects it was because of her husband’s Turkish name and origin. Ali is British, however, and holds a British passport.

Politakis said she is “in utter shock that this has happened, we had just got married, we were on our way to our honeymoon as excited as anything, and never expected that we would be deported.”

She added, “We were treated like criminals and we had all the relevant documentation and answered all their questions. It’s not OK to treat people like that. As far as we knew before we left everything was fine, but as soon as we got there they wouldn’t let us in. We believe that since Trump was elected, they took one look at his name, thought he was Muslim and didn’t let him in.”

They’ve now been told that if they wish to complain they need to contact the US embassy, but they’ve struggled to get an appointment.

Politakis said, “We tried to talk to the embassy but they said just go on the website and there was no explanation there. We had visas, we had everything. We were treated like criminals.”

A spokesperson for the US embassy declined to comment specifically on the case, but said there were “more than 60 grounds of inadmissibility divided into several major categories, including health-related, prior criminal convictions, security reasons, public charge, labour certification, illegal entrants and immigration violations, documentation requirements, and miscellaneous grounds.”

Despite being issued a visa valid for 10 years the embassy said it was down to applicants to prove they were eligible to enter the US

The couple managed to book a last-minute holiday to Mexico instead, and are now in the process of trying to get their money back from their insurance.

“All we want is answers as to why our entire trip was ruined,” said Politakis.

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