Family of Six Refugees Stuck Living at Airport for More Than 50 Days

South_Lebanon_refugeeDo you remember Viktor Navorski, a character portrayed by Tom Hanks in the 2004 The Terminal, a film directed by Steven Spielberg? Navorski is forced to stay at a New York City airport after officials say he is denied enrty into the US and at the same time he cannot return to his native country because a war has broken out there.

Unfortunately, it seems the same story may happen to people in real life. A Kurdish family of six has been stuck at a Russian airport for more than 50 days while  they were attempting to claim asylum in the country after fleeing Syria.

Hasan and Gulistan Ahmad, and their four children aged between three and 13 wanted a peaceful life away from the violence in their home country.

After the family left Syria, they traveled to Ibril, a Kurdish city in north Iraq. From there, they attempted to seek asylum in Russia, as Gulistan’s sister and cousin live in the country.

However, when arriving in Russia, the authorities refused to allow them to enter the country, stranding them in the Moscow departures lounge. They were accused of traveling with fake passports and visas. Hasan said that when they arrived at the airport in Moscow, they were told to wait for a security check. After few days they were told that their visas were forged. They couldn’t step outside of the airport because it would constitute an illegal crossing of the border and this is a crime punishable by up to six years in prison.

Although the family’s documents were later confirmed to be authentic, officials remain suspicious. The country still has not granted the family asylum status. As a result, the family has been forced to set up a temporary home in a former smoking lounge and they have been doing their laundry in airport restrooms.

Federal Migration Service in Russia said the case will be reconsidered in a few weeks. For now, though, the family is stuck in transit.