8 Feb 2013

Stranded stateless man cleared to leave American Samoa for US mainland

4:48 pm on 8 February 2013

A stateless man who has been stranded in American Samoa for more than a year says he has US Immigration Department approval to return to the US mainland.

Mikhail Sebastian was born in Azerbaijan but became stateless when the former Soviet Union collapsed.

After ten years living in the US, he travelled to Pago Pago on holiday but was denied re-entry to the US mainland for lack of citizenship.

He has received significant support, including from American Samoa's US Congressman, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, while the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees recently sent a film crew to the territory to publicise Mr Sebastian's plight.