Saturday, September 23

The story of Mehran Karimi Nasiri who spent 18 years stuck at the airport


Mehran Karimi Nasiri spent 18 years of his life at France airport. After being deported from Iran, he lost his documents and passport and got stuck at the airport for 18 years.

Mehran Karimi Nasiri who is also known as Sir Alfred Mehran was officially the resident of Iran but he spent 18 years of his life stuck at Charles de Gaulle Airport in France. What made him stay at the airport day and night for 18 long years? His story is quite dismaying and peculiar.

Mehran Karimi Nasiri was born in 1946 in Iran to an Iranian father. However, his mother belonged to Scotland. Both his parents were doctors by profession. In 1973 he left Iran and went to England for further studies. He studied at the University of Bradford for three years and returned back to his country.

Mehran Karimi Nasiri

Mehran Karimi Nasiri deported from Iran

In 1977, Mehran Karimi Nasiri was deported from Iran for protesting against the Shah of Iran. 1977 was the time when the Iranian revolution reached the peak and protests erupted against the Shah of Iran by Iranians. This happened because of the growing disillusioned with the Shah. On the other hand, some of the close people of Mehran Karimi claimed that he was not deported from the country, instead, this was his planning for obtaining asylum in England.

Mehran obtained asylum in Belgium

Perhaps whatever the truth was, but at that time his claims proved successful. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugess granted him refuge in Belgium. He became an Iranian refugee living in Belgium.

Until 1986 he lived in Belgium and he was free to move to other European countries. In 1986, he decided to move to Scotland. He believed that his mother was a citizen of Scotland and thus he could easily settle there. Thus he planned to move to Scotland from Belgium. He boarded a flight to Scotland from Belgium. His Scotland flight was en route to Paris. During his journey, he landed at Charles de Gaulle airport where he had to wait for some hours to board his next flight direct to Scotland.

Lost his briefcase at the airport

While waiting for his flight at the airport he lost his briefcase that contained all his important documents regarding his refugee status and also his passport. This was the time when his bad luck began. Some sources said his papers were never stolen. Rather he was accused for mailing his documents to Brussels to board a ferry to the UK.

Mehran Karimi Nasiri

Arrested at France airport

He boarded a flight to Scotland without any important documents and passport. He was unable to show any of his document and passport to the immigration authorities thus the authorities sent him back. France airport security personnel arrested him. A case was filed against him.

He can freely live at France airport, court announced

For not possessing any nationality, his entry at the France airport was legal thus he could live at the airport. In 1992 one of the courts of France announced that the man cannot move out of the airport. Due to the absence of legal papers, he could neither board any flight nor he could move in the country. Nevertheless, he could stay at the airport and no one had the right to make him leave the airport.  According to the law of France, he could live restricted at the airport.

Stubborn decision

The question arises that why he did not leave for Belgium. According to the Belgium law if a refugee leaves the country after getting asylum his refuge status gets cancels. Such person cannot enter the country again. Despite this law, Belgium invited him to come back and stay there but he refused because of his determined decision to live in the UK. His family and close friends abandoned him blaming him for being responsible for his condition.

Mehran’s life at airport

Mehran Karimi Nasiri at France airport

From 1988 to 2006 he stayed at the airport along with his luggage. He used the airport washroom and slept at one corner of the airport. Reading books and writing something became his time pass activities. The airport staff and the passengers moving by granted him some food to eat. He washed the passenger’s facilities. He used to take his clothes to the airport laundry service for washing. Some sources claimed that he received money through the mail. Several journalists visited him for his story.

Movie inspired on Mehran Karimi Nasiri’s story:

Different magazines and newspaper published his story. He became famous as the victim of bureaucratic negligence and a prisoner of Charles De Gaulle airport. In 2004, Stephen Speilberg made “The Terminal” movie inspired by the story of Mehran Karimi Nassiri. He also paid some amount to Mehran Karimi for this movie.

Also readThe disastrous incident on K2 in 2008

Mehran Karimi Nasiri story in movie The terminal

Hospitalized due to undisclosed illness

There came a time when France allowed him to live freely in France but he refused and insisted to go to London. In 2006, severe illness made him shift to the hospital. This was the first time in 18 years when he was moved out of the airport. Media never disclosed his illness. His complete recovery and freedom was announced in 2007. Some sources claimed that since 2007 he is living in a shelter home in France while some claim that he is living in a rented apartment.

Unfulfilled dream of Mehran Karimi:

He is still living in France. Despite several efforts, his dream to get immigration to the UK could not be fulfilled. The story of Mehran Karimi Nasiri is also known as the biggest immigration blunder in the history.

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