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Swedish Migration Board halts gay footballer’s deportation to Liberia

Swedish Migration Board halts gay footballer’s deportation to Liberia

Andrew Nagbe moved to Sweden in 2013

An openly gay Swedish footballer facing deportation to Liberia has had his deportation halted hours before boarding the flight.

Last week, news broke that Andrew Nagbe was arrested at Stockholm Pride and had been held in a detention center ever since, with the intent of being deported back to Liberia.

Openly gay, he said he was in danger should he have to return to his home country, as everyone knew he was gay and police were out to get him.

But on Tuesday, hours before the footballer would’ve boarded the flight, the Swedish Migration Board announced it would re-open the case, stopping Nagbe’s deportation.

The board changed its mind because they received new documents which could prove his need for a residence permit.

The international media attention has helped, too, according to Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

‘His case has received international attention, including from the BBC, and his sexuality is now even better known in Liberia,’ said Stig-Åke Petersson, refugee officer at Swedish LGBTI organization RFSL, who also represents Nagbe, said.

‘Since then, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has been informed about this and gone in with an opinion to Andrew’s advantage.’

When Nagbe received the news, Petersson said he was ‘of course very happy’, but didn’t give further detail, saying the player needed rest.

Petersson didn’t comment on a likely result, saying it ‘can be both yes and no’, but it should only be a matter of weeks until Nagbe knows whether he’ll receive a Swedish residence permit.

‘After all that has happened, I don’t dare to have any idea about it,’ Petersson told the newspaper.

‘But given that they cancelled the trip, the chances increased.’

For now, Nagbe remains in the detention center, but his legal counsel on the matter, Ali Kassim, is trying to ensure he can lead a normal life until the Swedish Migraton Board reaches a new decision.