Does anyone know the fate of Merhan Karimi Nasseri, the man trapped at the airport?

Merhan Karimi Nasseri was trying to fly to several locations in Europe, but didn’t have the proper documentation. He ended up in the de Gualle airport in Paris where he was refused boarding on any flight, and also not allowed to leave the airport.

So where is that story now? He has been there since 1988!


This thread has some information.

He was still there as of December 2001 according to some guy named Cecil Adams Has a guy been stuck in the Paris airport since 1988 for lack of the right papers? I believe we have had a thread about him either in GQ of Comments on Cecil’s Columns more recently than that, but the hamsters are already overburdened, so I’m not going to search.

That’s what I get for not previewing. Thanks, d.a.

I didn’t find that thread (I guess I included the middle name in my search and found nothing), but I did read Cecil’s column from '99 and found other articles as late as 2001. Nothing for the last two years.

Well Google News produces two recent links which mention Nasseri:

The first says he is still there as of October 2, 2003.

The second is from an Indian paper and says “Airport refugee to be Spielberg star”, but the link is broken and a search of the site does not produce the article from Sept 25, 2003.

On a TV report recently, they suggested that he no longer wanted to leave the airport. His entire identity seems to have become “that man who lives at the airport.”


As of the most recent GQ, he’s still there.

The GQ was acutally quite a substantiative and interesting article. Although his health seems to have deteriorated somewhat over the years (he hasn’t had access to some maintenance health and dental services) he seems to have sort of resigned himself to the airport. He has claimed to change his name, and even though pro bono lawyers have worked to secure him paperwork that would have allowed him into France, I believe, he seems to suffer from some rather serious mental health issues, particularly depression. My guess is that he stays there until he either dies or he is forced out by the French.