An offical of Sweden's immigration agency said Wednesday that it had decided not to appeal a court decision ordering another hearing for a purported North Korean teenager.
The teenager, who uses the pseudonym Han Song, claims he is from North Korea although he does not have documents proving national origin. He is seeking asylum in Sweden, but Sweden's immigration authority suspects he is a Chinese citizen of Korean descent and had been seeking to expatriate him to China.
“We have decided not to appeal the migration court’s decision. So we will try the case again,” Fredrik Bengtsson, spokesman for the Swedish Migration Agency, said in a phone interview with the VOA Korean service.
The immigration agency’s decision gives Han a new chance of getting refugee status in Sweden. Bengtsson said he expected the reinvestigation to be completed within a few months because much of the work has been done already.
Earlier this month, the Migration Court of Sweden ordered the immigration agency to reinvestigate the case, saying the agency had mishandled it. According to a court document, the judge said the agency had ignored the fact that one of the language analysts who participated in the interview determined Han was from North Korea.
Han said he had lived as an orphan in North Korea. In March 2013, he fled the country and met a broker who helped him reach Sweden.
In an email to the VOA Korean service, Tim Peters, director of Helping Hands Korea, a Seoul aid group helping North Korean defectors, said Han’s accounts were consistent with those of other North Korean children who fled the country.
“We believe quite strongly that his speech and story are very consistent with thousands of other ‘flower swallow’ children from North Korea,” Peters said, referring to North Korean children who have lost parents.
Peters said his group and Swedish lawyers have been helping Han seek refugee status since October 2014.