(c) 2003 New York Times

Some people have heard the urban legend of the man that lives in Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport. Sadly though, this urban legend is true. Merhan Karimi Nasseri has been stranded in the airport in Paris, France for over 15 years.

Nasseri is an Iranian refugee to Belgium that through an amazing tale of bad luck and circumstance ended up at the Paris airport without any documents or country of origin. He was traveling to England to receive assylum there and lost his documentation in transit. When he landed at Heathrow, London, they sent him back to Charles de Gaulle Airport–he has been stranded there since 1988.

In 1995, he was given an opportunity to leave the airport and return to Belgium under the supervision of a social worker, but he refused. In 1999, the French government granted him assylum in France, but he refuses to sign the papers because they identify him as Iranian, not British. Some say he is “afraid” to leave the airport and his mental health has deteriorated over the years. His lawyer even fears that he will die at the airport.

This website has a brief history of his plight, including a 1997 Boston Globe article and a 1999 article from the Irish Examiner. After additional research, I found a recent New York Times article (free registration required) about Nasseri and his dealings with Dreamworks. Spielberg is directing a film inspired by his real-life story. The Times article is hopeful, quoting Nasseri as saying that he was planning on leaving the airport soon. Let’s hope he does.


  1. This is a travesty. Noone should ever on this planet ever have to live in a airport when they have commited no crime. His life is a prison. Luckily he has made the best of it.

    #1 by Brian Harper — November 18, 2003 @ 8:30 am


    #2 by kirstin — December 23, 2003 @ 8:36 am

  3. Oh my! hahaha, Hi Kirstin, it’s alex here if you remember me… Josh and I were laughing at you for bumping into trees… I believe you Jeff!

    #3 by alex — January 5, 2004 @ 2:00 am

  4. alex wiv the blue jaket? hey! it woz only 1 tree…

    #4 by kirstin — January 5, 2004 @ 4:59 am

  5. if u’ve been sent here by jeff, plz leev a comment…:P

    #5 by kirstin — January 7, 2004 @ 11:55 am

  6. u ppl suck! whaat are you talking about? you expect ppl to understand? dorks.

    #6 by Lidia — January 16, 2004 @ 10:56 am

  7. GET A LIFE!

    someone needs a doctor…alex i am sorry that you have taken this movie to serious. my number is 867-5309 p.s. its a song. thanks for the laugh.

    #7 by toe jam — November 25, 2004 @ 7:59 pm

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