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Who was Mehran Karimi Nasseri, the Iranian man living inside Charles de Gaulle airport?

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Iranian immigrant Mehran Karimi Nasseri, popularly known as Sir Alfred Mehran, resided at Terminal 1's departure lounge of Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France. The Airport was home to Nasseri for over 18 years: from August 26, 1988, until July 2006, when he was admitted to the hospital. In September 2022, he moved back into the airport at 77 years old and passed away in November following a heart attack.

Who was Mehran Karimi Nasseri and how did he end up in Charles de Gaulle Airport?

Mehran Karimi Nasseri was born in 1945 in the Iranian province of Khuzestan and initially travelled to Europe in 1973 in search of his mother. After being refused entry to countries such as the UK, the Netherlands, and Germany for not possessing the appropriate immigration documents, he spent time living in Belgium. He subsequently travelled to France and settled in the departure lounge of the airport’s Terminal 1 due to the legal issues he faced not being able to enter the country officially. 

Where did Nasseri stay in Charles de Gaulle Airport?

Mr. Nasseri set up home on a red plastic bench and slept between a pizza parlour and an electronics shop. He spent his days writing about his life in a notebook and reading books and newspapers on his bench, surrounded by trolleys filled with the items he had accumulated over time.

The French government argued that he was staying on French soil against the law in the 1990s, but they couldn't deport him since no country would take him.

How did Nasseri’s legacy grow?

The Terminal Man, a book autobiography, was released in 2004. The 1993 movie, Lost in Transit, and the 2004 movie, The Terminal, starring Tom Hanks, were both influenced by Nasseri's tale. Journalists often interviewed the man who served as the inspiration for a Hollywood blockbuster after the movie's premiere. According to Le Parisien, Mr. Nasseri, who went by the name "Sir Alfred," once did up to six interviews daily.

He was given refugee status and the ability to stay in France in 1999, but he remained at the airport until 2006 when he was transferred to the hospital for medical treatment. Using the money he had been paid for the movie, he then lived in a hostel, according to the French newspaper Libération.

Where Nasseri ended up and how he passed away

In September 2022, Mr. Nasseri returned to the airport, where he stayed until his passing, according to an airport representative. The cause of death was a heart attack. The officer stated that Mr. Nasseri was found in possession of several thousand euros.