Mehran Karimi Nasseri
|Mehran Karimi Nasseri|
|Born||مهران کریمی ناصری
Mehran Karimi Nasseri
1942 (age 70–71)
Masjed Soleiman, Iran
Mehran Karimi Nasseri (مهران کریمی ناصری pronounced [mehˈrɒn kʲæriˈmi nɒseˈri]; born 1942), also known as Sir, Alfred Mehran, is an Iranian refugee who lived in the departure lounge of Terminal One in Charles de Gaulle Airport from 26 August 1988 until July 2006, when he was hospitalized for an unspecified ailment. His autobiography has been published as a book (The Terminal Man) and was the basis for the movie The Terminal.
Early life 
Nasseri was born in the Anglo-Persian Oil Company settlement located in Masjed Soleiman, Iran. His father was an Iranian physician working for the company. Nasseri stated that his mother was a nurse from Scotland working in the same place. He arrived in the United Kingdom in September 1973, to take a three-year course in Yugoslav studies at the University of Bradford.
Current position 
Nasseri was expelled from Iran in 1977 for protests against the Shah and after a long battle, involving applications in several countries, was awarded refugee status by the United Nations High Commission for refugees in Belgium. This permitted residence in any European country.
Having claimed to have one British parent, although he has produced no evidence to support this, he decided to settle in the UK in 1986, but en route there in 1988, his briefcase containing his papers was stolen in Paris. Despite this setback, he boarded the plane for London but was promptly returned to France when he failed to present a passport to British immigration. He was initially arrested by the French, but then released as his entry to the airport was legal and as he had no country of origin to be returned to; thus began his residency at Terminal 1.
His case was later taken on by French human rights lawyer Christian Bourget. In 1992, French courts ruled that, having entered the country legally, he could not be expelled from the airport, but it could not grant him permission to enter France.
Attempts were then made to have new documents issued from Belgium, but the authorities there would only do so if Nasseri presented himself in person. However, under Belgian law a refugee who voluntarily leaves a country that has accepted him cannot return. In 1995, the Belgian authorities granted permission for him to return, but only if he agreed to live there under supervision of a social worker. Nasseri refused this on the grounds of wanting to enter the UK as originally intended.
Nasseri's stay at the airport ended in July 2006 when he was hospitalized and his sitting place dismantled. Towards the end of January 2007, he left the hospital and was looked after by the airport's branch of the French Red Cross; he was lodged for a few weeks in a hotel close to the airport. On March 6, 2007, he transferred to an Emmaus charity reception centre in Paris's twentieth arrondissement. As of 2008, he continues to live in a Paris shelter.
Life in Terminal 1 
During his 17-year long stay at Terminal 1 in the Charles de Gaulle Airport, Nasseri had his luggage at his side, and spent his time reading, writing in his diary, or studying economics. He received food and newspapers from employees of the airport. Contrary to what many believe, he was never stuck in the transit area and was therefore free to move.
Documentaries and fictionalizations 
Nasseri's story provided the inspiration for the 1994 Tombés du ciel French film, starring Jean Rochefort, internationally released under the title Lost in Transit. The short story, "The Fifteen-Year Layover," written by Michael Paterniti and published in GQ and The Best American Non-Required Reading, chronicles Nasseri's life. Alexis Kouros made a documentary about him, Waiting for Godot at De Gaulle in 2000. Glen Luchford and Paul Berczeller made the Here to Where mockumentary in 2001, also featuring Nasseri. Hamid Rahmanian and Melissa Hibbard made a documentary called Sir Alfred of Charles De Gaulle Airport in 2001.
Nasseri was reportedly the inspiration behind the character Viktor Navorski, from the 2004 movie The Terminal; however, neither publicity materials, nor the DVD "special features" nor the film's website mentions Nasseri's plight as an inspiration for the film. Despite this, in September 2003, The New York Times noted that Steven Spielberg bought the rights to his life story as the basis for The Terminal. The Guardian indicates that Spielberg's DreamWorks production company paid $250,000 to Nasseri for rights to his story and report that as of 2004 he carried a poster advertising Spielberg's film draping his suitcase next to his bench. Nasseri was reportedly excited about The Terminal, but it was unlikely that he would ever have a chance to see it in theatres.
In 2004, the book The Terminal Man was published in several countries including the UK and Germany. The Terminal Man was a full-length autobiography co-written by Nasseri and British author Andrew Donkin. The book was reviewed in the UK Sunday Times as being "profoundly disturbing and brilliant."
See also 
- Stateless person, people who are in legal immigration limbo and not technically allowed into any country.
- Feng Zhenghu, who protested and remained in the immigration hall of Narita International Airport for 92 days.
- Hiroshi Nohara, who spent four months in Benito Juarez International Airport
- Zahra Kamalfar, stuck for ten months in Sheremetyevo Airport while seeking refugee status from Canada
- Sanjay Shah, staged a 13-month sit-in at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
- List of people who have lived at airports
- "Stranded at the Airport". Snopes. 2 July 2008. Retrieved Sept 02, 2009.
- Berczeller, Paul (2004-09-06). "The man who lost his past". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-08-01.
- "Mehran Karimi Nasseri - In Transit". h2g2. BBC. May 28, 2008. Retrieved August 20, 2008.
- Has a guy been stuck in the Paris airport since 1988 for lack of the right papers?
- Fictionville Studio promo website
- Rose, Matthew (2003-09-21). "Waiting For Spielberg". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-12.
- Duchen, Jessica (2005-06-30). "'I Wanted to Write a Show That I'd Like to See Myself' - Jonathan Dove on His Opera Flight". The Independent. Retrieved 2008-08-07.
- Mikkelson, Barbara & David P. "Stranded at the Airport" at Snopes.com: Urban Legends Reference Pages.
- "Has a guy been stuck in the Paris airport since 1988 for lack of the right papers?" - The Straight Dope, 20 August 1999
- Le naufragé du terminal 1 at the Wayback Machine (archived October 17, 2007), July 26, 2004, (French)