Man Stuck In Airport For A Year But Real Life Is Not Like 'The Terminal'


Those who have seen Steven Spielberg's 2004 film, "The Terminal," starring Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones, may think that being forced to live in an airport is not the worst thing that could happen, but they may have to adjust their opinions now.

Fadi Mansour, a Syrian refugee who has been detained in Istanbul's Atatürk Airport, can tell firsthand that being held inside an airport is just as bad as being in a war-torn country.

In 2012, Mansour had a bright future ahead of him as a law student in Damascus, but when a civil war broke out and he was drafted to the army, he decided to flee to Lebanon. Two years after, in 2014, Mansour decided to flee again - this time to Turkey -after he was kidnapped by a local gang.

The 28-year-old then decided to try and seek refuge in Europe. After receiving information from a smuggler that it was easier to enter the continent through Malaysia, he went for it.

His plight only became more difficult from there, however, because when he reached Malaysia, he was not allowed to enter the country and was sent back to Atatürk Airport. He has been detained in the "Problematic Passengers Room" since March 2015. Neither Mansour nor his lawyer was informed of the grounds for his arrest.

The room is reportedly designed to hold two to three people, but on any given day, it holds between 30 and 40 detainees inside. There is no natural light and poor ventilation, and at one time, he was even beaten up really badly by one of his fellow detainees that he had to be brought to a hospital.

"I don't know what to do anymore [...] I mentally couldn't handle it any longer. I became almost aggressive, feeling like I want to hit the walls. I started smoking two and a half packs a day. I've never smoked before," he said in an interview.

Mansour's arrest is not the only issue because the conditions for his detainment are affecting him psychologically, just as much as other refugees who experience trauma first-hand.

Amnesty International has been calling out to officials to pay attention to Mansour's condition and finally reveal why the refugee is being detained, but so far, no one has answered their call.

"F.M. has relatives in other countries who are attempting to sponsor him to obtain a visa. According to the information received, no foreign embassy representatives have interviewed F.M. in detention, although it is unclear if this is because they were denied access by the Turkish authorities, or if no attempt was actually made," Amnesty International wrote [pdf].

"They told me, we have 2 million of you already and don't need any more [...] I used to think Turkey stood side-by-side with Syrians. Now I'm watching on TV here people say how Turkey is helping Syrians but to me, it's all lies," Mansour said.

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