He died this Saturday on a bench at Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle airport shortly before noon, at terminal 2F. This same airport where he spent more than 18 years of his life. Mehran Karimi Nasseri had taken refuge there in 1988, after a long journey in search of his mother, and somewhere, of himself.
His touching and incredible story inspired one of Steven Spielberg’s most famous films: “The Terminal”. His role is interpreted by Tom Hanks. But also the film “Fallen from the sky” by French director Philippe Lioret.
Born in 1945 in Masjed Soleiman, in the Iranian province of Khuzestan, his father had died and his mother never wanted to recognize him. When Mehran Karimi Nasseri decided to go in search of the latter in the 1980s, he had his passport withdrawn by the Iranian authorities. Britain denies him citizenship. Wherever he goes, he is expelled by the authorities, for lack of being able to present papers. He settled in Roissy.
Even after obtaining refugee status in France in 1999 and a residence permit, he refuses to leave the airport. At Roissy, he had become familiar with the airport staff and an emblematic figure, being the subject of numerous television and radio reports, French and foreign, before the cinematographic consecration.