Yemane Teferi has waited 25 years to be a free man.

For most of that time, he’s been stuck in refugee centers in Norway, whose government says he doesn’t qualify for asylum and should be deported back to East Africa.

His advocates say he is being treated like a criminal in country where even violent offenders are rarely sentenced to more than 21 years in jail and prisoners are sent to islands that have reminded some visiting journalists of vacation spots. But because his home country of Eritrea and Norway do not cooperate on deportations, Teferi might be forced to spend the rest of his life in Norway – without ever being granted asylum. He might never be allowed to have a job, a family or access to full health care services.

The immigration authorities are legally entitled to expelling him from Norway. However, the problem arises when, as a consequence, he spends most of his life in limbo because deportation is and will never be possible.

Rich Nuack in Washington post, 2015-10-14