After being stranded in the transit area of India’s Indira Gandhi International airport in Delhi, for 55 days, amid the lockdown, a German ‘fugitive’ finally left for Amsterdam on Tuesday morning.
Indian tweeps have shared news reports about 40-year-old Edgard Ziebat. Many called him the real-life “Viktor Navorski”, a fictional character played by Tom Hanks in the Steven Spielberg film The Terminal, with a similar plot.
@JohnDCook posted: “German man has been stuck for weeks in New Delhi airport, like Tom Hanks in the movie The Terminal.”
Ziebat, who is reportedly “a wanted criminal in his home country”, landed in New Delhi from Vietnam in a VietJet Air flight as a transit passenger to Istanbul on March 18.
However, India cancelled all flights to and from Turkey the same day. Four days later, India suspended all international flights in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ban on international flights left Ziebat stuck at Delhi Airport. When airport authorities contacted the German embassy, they refused to take his custody because of his criminal records in Germany and as a result, India too denied him a visa.
He also turned down an offer go to his home country, and was recently served a “Leave India Notice” by authorities, say officials.
Finally, “the foreign national decided to book himself on a KLM flight to Amsterdam and departed early morning of May 12,” a DIL spokesperson said.
According to a report by the news website hindustantimes.com: “After a week in the transit area, with four other stranded passengers who arrived in Delhi on different dates — two from Sri Lanka and one each from the Maldives and the Philippines — airport authorities alerted their respective embassies. While others were facilitated by their respective embassies and were quarantined, the German embassy informed the Indian bureau of immigration that Ziebat has several cases of assault and other crimes registered against him and that they won’t take his custody given that he is in a foreign land," an officer said on condition of anonymity.
With no place to go, Ziebat has been staying at the terminal with his luggage since March 18.
“He spends his days reading magazines and newspapers, talking to his friends and family over the phone, eating at some of the fast-food outlets still in operation within the terminal, interacting with housekeeping and security staff, taking walks within the transit area, and using the airport’s washrooms and toilets,” according to the report.
Apparently, the airport authorities have been providing him with basic essentials such as a recliner, mosquito net, toothpaste, food.
“About a week ago, attempts were also made to accommodate him on a relief flight to Ankara (Turkey) but Turkish authorities turned down the proposal stating that the flight was only for Turkish nationals or for their permanent residents,” an official said, reportedly.
Tagging actor Tom Hanks, @Gurubhat_ posted: “ @TomHanks your story, but during #COVID19 attack on the world. Time for #TerminalPart2?”