‘In prison, I will be raped and beaten every day, until I’m released and leave the country’
Andrew Nagbe was arrested during a routine ID check at Stockholm Pride at the end of July, in the presence of his boyfriend.
He is now being held in a detention center, awaiting deportation to his native country of Liberia.
‘I wanted to play football at a high level and live the life as a gay man and be part of society,’ Nagbe told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.
‘But now I have no dreams left anymore.’
Nagbe spent part of his detention in isolation, after trying to harm himself.
If he returns to Libera, where homosexuality is illegal, the midfielder could face a prison sentence or a fine – and he says it’s bound to happen, because he is wanted by Liberian police.
‘In prison, I will be raped and beaten every day, until I’m released and leave the country,’ Nagbe said.
‘Everyone in Liberia knows I’m gay, so they will do what they want with me.’
Nagbe travelled to Sweden in 2013, to trial with Division 1 club Umeå FC, but didn’t receive a contract and, in turn, was refused a residence permit.
He then settled in Södertälje, a small town south of Stockholm popular with immigrants, and played for Division 2 club Södertälje FK.
In 2014, the Migration Board decided Nagbe would be sent back to Liberia, but he appealed first at the Migration Court and, in the last instance, to Sweden’s Migration Court of Appeal.
Both rejected the appeal because, according to Dagens Nyheter, the player’s claims of his homosexuality and the threat he faces in Liberia were unsubstantiated arguments, and the story was ‘not deemed credible’.
‘Our assessment is that there is a danger to homosexuals in Liberia, with the risk of harassment and more,’ Michael Persson, of Sweden’s Migration Board, told the newspaper.
‘But there is no evidence that there is state-sanctioned abuse.’
Persson also said that, while the board considers each application individually, it’s up to the applicant to provide sufficient evidence.
If no new evidence is submitted to prove Nagbe is in danger upon his return to Libera, his deportation is set for 23 August.