Man Stuck In Airport For More Than A Month, This Is The Reason Why

By Reuters
April 13, 2018
Man Stuck In Airport For More Than A Month, This Is The Reason Why
Syrian man stranded in airport. (Screenshot via Reuters)

NTD Photo

A 36-year-old Syrian has been stuck in transit in the Malaysian capital for more than a month, he said, in a case that echoes the Steven Spielberg movie, “The Terminal”.

Stranded at KLIA2, Kuala Lumpur’s budget terminal, Hassan al Kontar has been posting videos blogs of his daily life on Twitter and Facebook that has attracted the attention of human rights groups and the media.

Hassan, who said he had been living at the airport since March 7, fears arrest if sent back to Syria, where a civil war has been raging for seven years. U.S. President Donald Trump warned this week of imminent military action in Syria over a suspected poison gas attack.

“I don’t want to be a killing machine and destroying my own home,” Hassan told Reuters via a skype interview due to limited media access to the transit hall.

A former insurance salesman, Hassan said he was living in the United Arab Emirates when war broke out in Syria. He was deported to Kuala Lumpur in 2016, he said, after the Syrian embassy in the UAE refused to renew his passport.

It took him more than a year before he raised enough to buy a flight ticket to Ecuador, but the airline refused to board him. He did not say how he raised the money.

He tried instead to fly to Cambodia, he said, but was again rejected by immigration authorities and deported back to Kuala Lumpur.

The U.N. refugee agency confirmed meeting Hassan, but said it could not comment on individual cases.

Hassan said they could not tell him how long the process of getting him out will take.

April 12 marked his 37th day living in KLIA2’s transit zone and depends on the kindness of airport and airline staff for food and supplies.

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