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10 people who have been stuck in airports for years or still live there

Probably everyone at least once in his life spent at the airport a little more time than planned. Someone had a delayed flight or an inconvenient and long overnight transfer, and someone, maybe, just did not have time to take a plane and waited for the next one. But there are people with a more difficult fate who were forced to live at the airport for several months, sometimes decades, and some continue to be in the transit zone to this day, unable even to go outside.

Фото: Depositphotos found several real stories of people from different parts of the world who, like the hero Tom Hanks from the movie “Terminal”, were locked up at the airport due to various circumstances.

1. Mehran Nasseri - the most famous Iranian refugee who inspired Spielberg

Fate Mehran Nasseri formed the basis of the film “Terminal” shot by Spielberg. Nasseri lived at the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport 18 for years, from 26 August 1988 to July 2006.

The real story of Mehran is very different from the Hollywood film adaptation. In 1977, he was expelled from Iran for taking part in protests against the government. After that, Nasseri sought political asylum in European countries and received shelter in Belgium.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Hamid Rahmanian

But since Mehran's mother was a British subject, he decided to move to Glasgow. On the way, he lost a diplomat with all the documents, and already at London’s Heathrow Airport, when Mehran attempted to go through passport control, he was sent back to Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Both France and Belgium offered Nasseri a residence permit, but Mehran refused to sign the documents, since they indicated that he was an Iranian (he wanted to be recognized as British). Nasseri's stay at the airport ended in July 2006, when he was hospitalized. After being discharged from the hospital, he was offered a place in a Paris refugee shelter, where he remained.

2. Denis Luis de Souza entered the airport 16-year-old teenager and 19 years already does not go out

Almost 20 years old Denis Luis de Souza did not leave the international airport of Sao Paulo, where he was forced to move because of the conflict with his stepmother. He did not plan to fly away from Brazil anywhere and was quite pleased with his current place of stay.

Photo: video frame YouTube / TVePoint

Today Denis is 35 years old, he continues to live in the walls of the airport and does not want to know what is going on outside.

3. Sanjay Shah - a man who could not fly anywhere, since he himself refused to citizenship

Kenja Sanjay Shah was denied entry to the UK in 2004 when he arrived with a British passport that did not give him the right to immigrate to the United Kingdom.

Photo: video frame YouTube / AP Archive

Before traveling to Europe, he refused his Kenyan passport, so in fact Shah remained stateless, which would allow him to return to his homeland. Sanjay had to live at Nairobi International Airport for 437 days, moving between the departure lounges and immigration desks. He washed in the toilets of the airport and ate the food that was given to him by people working in airport restaurants.

Thanks to the close attention of the media and public support, Shah obtained British citizenship, where he now lives with his family.

On the subject: What you can get for free if you are stuck at the airport

4. Tetsuya Abo is a Japanese journalist who did not want to return home and dreamed of staying in Russia forever.

Tetsuya Abo claimed that he was a journalist who suffered from criticizing freedom of speech in Japan. Therefore, Abo refused to fly from Russia back to his homeland. He arrived in Moscow 1 May 2015 of the year and had to fly 29 May, but instead of boarding the plane, he settled in the corner between the gates and so lived at the Sheremetyevo airport 185 days before he was sent back home.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Ruptly

He hoped to obtain Russian citizenship, however, according to lawyers, the granting of political asylum to him was impossible, since there was no evidence that he was directly persecuted in his home country.

5. Mohammed Al-Bakhish was in a hurry to visit his lover in Kazakhstan, but he was stuck at the airport on the 3 month

Palestinian refugee Mohammed Al-Bakhish went to Kazakhstan in 2013 year, where his pregnant girlfriend waited for him, whom he planned to marry. But the couple did not have time to play the wedding because of problems with the documents of Muhammad.

Mohammed decided to fly from Kazakhstan to Turkey in the hope of extending his Kazakh visa there, but he was deployed on the Turkish border and sent back to Alma-Ata, where he was also not released from the airport, as he did not have a valid visa. He could have returned to his homeland in Palestine, but Israel did not allow him to enter the Palestinian territories.

Фото: Depositphotos

Mohammed had to stay at the 150 airport for days before he was allowed to go to the refugee transit center in Timisoara, Romania, and later he was able to get asylum in Finland.

6. Hassan Al-Kontar chose to live in the transit zone of the terminal, rather than fight

Hassan Al-Kontar worked in Dubai when the war broke out in 2011 in Syria. Knowing that he would have to fight if he returned home, Kontar stayed in the UAE after his work visa expired, but eventually in March 2018 was deported to Malaysia. Having been refused entry into Cambodia, Malaysia, Turkey and Ecuador, Kontar found himself in the transit zone of Kuala Lumpur airport. For 208 days, he slept under the stairs, showered in the toilet for the disabled and ate the food donated by other passengers.

The story of a Syrian stuck in a Malaysian airport was widely covered by journalists and attracted the attention of caring people from around the world. Hassan considers Laurie Cooper, a media relations consultant from the Canadian town of Whistler, as her savior, who, along with several friends, organized his relocation to Canada. Today, Kontar lives in a small town north of Vancouver, along with Cooper, her family and their pets.

On the subject: 7 tips: how to relive the wait at the US airport

7. Hiroshi Nohara - Japanese, who still lives in the food court of the Mexican airport

Hiroshi Nohara flew to Mexico City in September 2008 of the year and spent the next 117 days in the food court at the 1 terminal of Benito Juarez International Airport. His stay there made Hiroshi a local celebrity, and Mexican news programs regularly talked about his life, although the Japanese did not disclose the exact reasons for their presence in the terminal.

Nohara left 31 December 2008, along with an unfamiliar woman who offered him an overnight stay in her apartment in Mexico City. In 2009, local media reported that Nohara returned to the terminal building a few days later with three plastic bags, new clothes and blankets. At the moment, the fate of the Japanese is unknown, since over the past 5 years at the airport he was no longer seen.

8. Feng Zhengu - Chinese human rights activist, who was forbidden to return home

Chinese writer and civil rights and freedom fighter Feng Zhengu in November 2009 was in Japan, where he visited his sister. But when he flew back to Shanghai, he was denied entry into China at the border, and Feng was returned by the nearest flight to Tokyo. Thus, the Chinese government wanted to get rid of the annoying activist, but Feng did not want to stay in Japan and decided to wait at the airport when he was still allowed to return home. He made 8 attempts to fly from Tokyo to Shanghai, but he was sent back all the time.

Photo: frame YouTube / VOA News

Feng spent days at the 86 airport, trying to draw the attention of the world media to his problem. Every day he wore a T-shirt with the inscription “A citizen of China was denied entry to China 8 times”, so that as many people as possible know about his situation. In February, 2010, on the eve of the Chinese New Year, he was finally allowed to return to his hometown so that he could celebrate the holiday with his family. But immediately after returning to Shanghai, he was put under house arrest.

9. Issa Mohamed is a Nigerian who was expelled from one country and is not going to be allowed into any other

Nigerian Issa Mohamed 8 has lived illegally in Israel for years, but was recently caught and sent back to his homeland. However, Nigerian customs officials refused to let him in, claiming that the temporary travel documents issued to him in Israel were fake.

Since November 2018, he is at the Ethiopian Addis Ababa airport and still cannot leave it, since neither Israel nor Nigeria can take it back.

10. Edward Snowden - a former CIA officer who fled to Russia from the United States

The former CIA officer, about whom several films and TV shows were shot, became famous throughout the world in the summer of 2013, when he gave the media secret information regarding the total surveillance of American intelligence services. Soon he was in absentia charged with espionage, and Snowden was put on the international wanted list.

He managed to escape from the USA, first to Hong Kong, and then to Moscow, where he stayed 39 days in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo Airport. He planned to fly to Ecuador, where he wanted to seek political asylum. But the Americans quickly revoked his passport, and he did not have valid documents to take off from Russia.

1 August 2013, Snowden received temporary asylum in Russia, where he lives to this day, but his exact location has not been disclosed for security reasons.

How long did your longest airport transfer take you? Have you ever spent the night in the terminal?

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