Karimi Nasseri, inspiration for film ‘The Terminal’, passes away in Charles de Gaulle airport

Karimi Nasseri, inspiration for film 'The Terminal', passes away in Charles de Gaulle airport
Credit: Ricardo Gomez Angel

Mediafax has reported that the famous stateless man of Irani origin, Merhan Karimi Nasseri, has died from a heart attack in the airport he called home for 18 years. 

Nasseri’s life story inspired the 2004 film The Terminal, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks. He initially left Iran in 1977 after facing political persecution and receiving refugee status in Belgium from the UN. 

However, in 1988, he decided he wanted to look for his mother, of Scottish origin, by travelling to the United Kingdom. But on the way to London, he lost his papers providing his identity and legality. Therefore the UK would not allow him to enter the country without the papers and equally France would not allow him to leave the Charles de Gaulle airport. 

This led Nasseri to be forced to take refuge on the benches of the waiting room of Terminal 1. In 1992, a French court decided that, as he had entered the country legally, he could not be expelled from the airport, but he could also not be permitted to enter France. 

Although in 1999 he was eventually granted the right to remain in France, he continued to live in the airport until 2006. 

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