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Sun 17 May 2015 11:34 AM

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Visa issues left father and son stranded in Dubai airport for 2 weeks

Wael Al Sahlee, and his son Montasser, slept in Terminal Two, in a story reminiscent of the plot of Tom Hanks film The Terminal

Visa issues left father and son stranded in Dubai airport for 2 weeks

A Palestinian-Syrian refugee and his nine-year-old son were stranded in Dubai airport for a fortnight after being refused a visa, it emerged on Friday.

Wael Al Sahlee, 41, and his son Montasser were forced to camp out at Terminal Two in a story reminiscent of the plot of Hollywood film The Terminal, in which fictional refugee Tom Hanks is trapped in an American airport for similar reasons.

Al Sahlee and Montasser’s airport home was on the floor behind a row of seats next to the Fly Dubai offices at gate 12, the Guardian newspaper reported.

In 2012, he and his family had fled Syria for Jordan. But, like many Palestinians, Al Sahlee was not allowed to work there and his family decided the only chance of a stable future was for him to leave his wife and daughters and take a smugglers’ boat to Europe from Libya with his son.

On arrival in the Sudanese capital Khartoum halfway through their journey, the pair discovered something had gone wrong with their visa applications and were deported back to Dubai, through which they had passed on their way from Jordan.

The Jordanian authorities told Dubai they would not be readmitted in Jordan, so the Emiratis refused to admit them into Dubai, and the pair was trapped.

Finally, on Thursday, Dubai authorities put Al Sahlee and Montasser on a plane back to Jordan, following lobbying by human rights groups. The newspaper reported that their future in Jordan remains uncertain.

Al Sahlee was quoted as saying his situation reflects the harsh realities facing hundreds of other Palestinian refugees. “We are humans,” he said. “It’s not right for us to be treated this way by Arab countries and Arab airports.

“I can’t imagine any European sleeping two weeks behind a row of chairs, or being expelled from all Arab countries. And it’s not just my problem – it’s a problem of hundreds of thousands of Waels and Montassers. We have a nation: Palestine. Send us there. We shouldn’t have to beg a place from other countries.”

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H. Dadlani 5 years ago

There must've been some other reason that the authorities of both the Nations had to adhere to such steps !

Hope the father and son get some relief when they are admitted to Jordan or, returned back to their homeland.