22-year-old Andrew Nagbe was seized by Swedish authorities at the Stockholm Pride festival. He was there with his boyfriend.
Nagbe originally traveled to Sweden on trial with Swedish third-tier team Umeå FC before plying his trade at a string of lower league teams, The Scotsman reports. When he was arrested he was playing for Södertälje FK in the fourth tier, a town to the south of Stockholm.
He said he wants to remain in Sweden and live as an openly gay man, which is illegal in Liberia. Sweden has progressive LGBTQ rights laws.
“In prison I’ll be beaten and raped every day until I am released and leave the country again. Everyone I know in Liberia knows I am gay now, so they won’t hold back,” Nagbe said from detention.
Officials have said that only by presenting new evidence that he is both gay and that returning to his home country would put him in danger will Nagbe be able to stop his deportation back to Liberia, set for Aug. 23.