Mehran Karimi Nasseri on a recording at “his” airport in 2004.Image: keystone
Mehran Nasseri was born in Iran and lived at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris for 18 years. Nasseri has now died aged 77 – he returned to the airport again a few weeks ago.
14/11/2022, 07:0414/11/2022, 08:32
The life of Mehran Karimi Nasseri was so extraordinary that it became the basis for a film starring two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks: The Hollywood film “The Terminal” was released in 2004.
The film tells the story of a man who, due to diplomatic turmoil in his home country, does not have valid documents and cannot enter or continue his journey after arriving at the airport.
It was something similar for Mehran Nasseri. Born in Iran in 1945, he traveled to Europe for the first time in 1973 to study in England. He later returned to his homeland. He was allegedly arrested and exiled there because of his political views.
He returned to Europe as a refugee. What then happened to Nasseri is not clear. He has repeatedly expressed himself in contradictions about his career. His official version is that his documents were stolen during a layover in Paris and therefore he could not enter the country.
Nasseri therefore remained at the Paris airport and lived there from 1988 to 2006. Meanwhile, he became a minor celebrity, gave numerous interviews and his life was first filmed in 1993 in France. Nasseri achieved worldwide fame when Hollywood bought the rights to a book about his life and produced the aforementioned film starring Tom Hanks.
Although the authorities and Nassiri’s lawyer clarified his legal status over the years, and in theory he would have been allowed to enter France, he preferred to remain at the airport. He left him only in 2006 due to health problems. After that, he lived in homeless shelters and hotels made available to him from money he raised through documents about his life.
Just a few weeks ago, Nasseri returned to the airport again – and lived there until his death on November 12, 2022. (con)
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