- 14 Nov 22
The political refugee became trapped in international no-man's land at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport in August 1988.
The refugee, who is also known as Sir Alfred, lived in Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport from 1998 to 2006. He suffered a heart attack in the airport's Terminal 2F on Saturday, according to an airport official.
Caught originally in an immigration trap and unable to enter or leave France, Sir Alfred spent nearly two decades sleeping on a bench in Terminal 1, reading magazines, writing in his diary, and smoking his pipe. He left his unusual abode in July 2006, when he was hospitalised, and later lived in various shelters in Paris.
Sir Alfred returned to the airport in mid-September 2022, following a stay in a nursing home, according to CNN. He was pronounced dead by an airport medical team on Saturday.
Born in Soleiman, Iran in 1945, Mehran Karimi Nasseri studied in England in 1974 and was exiled from his home country upon his return for protesting the regime of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi, The New York Times reports. He allegedly lost his residency credentials in August 1988 while in transit to seek asylum, and became trapped in international no-man's land at Charles de Gaulle airport.
Although his legal obstacles were eventually resolved, the political refugee willingly resided at the airport until 2006.
In 2004, his extraordinary life story inspired The Terminal by Steven Spielberg, which stars Tom Hanks as an Eastern European immigrant from the fictional country Krakozhia, who gets stuck at New York’s JFK Airport. The comedy drama also features Catherine Zeta-Jones and Stanley Tucci.
Spielberg purchased the rights to Nasseri's story for roughly $250,000. After spending most of the money he received for the film, Sir Alfred returned to the terminal this autumn. A few thousand euros were found on him.
The Terminal Man, Nasseri's autobiography, which was ghostwritten by the British author Andrew Donkin, was published in 2004.
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