Syrian trapped for a year at Istanbul airport moved to detention centre

A Syrian refugee who was trapped for over a year at Istanbul’s main airport has been transferred to a detention centre

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A Syrian refugee who was trapped for over a year at Istanbul’s main airport after being refused entry to Turkey has been transferred to a detention centre, Amnesty International said Tuesday.

On Saturday, Fadi Mansour, who is reported to be in his twenties, left the windowless “problematic passengers room” at Ataturk airport where he was being held for a migrant detention centre in Istanbul, Amnesty said.

From Istanbul, authorities plan to move him to another detention facility in the southern city of Adana while his fate is being decided, the group added in a statement.

The plight of the young man, who fled his war-torn homeland in 2012, echoed that of Tom Hanks’ character in the 2004 film “The Terminal”.

Amnesty said he had first moved to Lebanon, then settled in Turkey. He later tried to enter Malaysia but was turned back and detained on his return to Istanbul on March 15, 2015.

Rights defenders had voiced concern about the conditions in which Mansour was being held.

Amnesty said the lights in the room where he was held remained always on and quoted him last week as saying his “only dream right now... is to sleep with the lights off”.

Welcoming his transfer from the airport, the rights group called for him to be immediately released and given the temporary protection status given to other Syrian refugees in Turkey.

In “The Terminal”, Hanks plays a man who becomes trapped at New York’s JFK airport when his home country collapses into revolution.

The film was inspired by the case of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, an Iranian who spent 18 years stranded at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport.