Judge names latest Lindh murder suspect

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The Independent Online

The new prime suspect in the investigation into the murder of Anna Lindh, Sweden's Foreign Minister, is of Yugoslav origin.

Two days after police released the first man they had arrested over the murder, their latest suspect was led into court yesterday by four guards, with a yellow prison blanket covering his head to shield him from reporters.

The judge, Göran Nilsson, lifted a ban on identification and named him as Mijailo Mijailovic, 24, a Swedish citizen. Police will be able to hold him in custody for at least two weeks. Court records show Mr Mijailovic has convictions for stabbing his father in the back with a knife, illegal gun possession and making threatening phone calls to two women.

A psychiatric evaluation in connection with the 1997 trial for the non-fatal attack on his father found the suspect "in great need of psychiatric and psychotherapeutic efforts", but ruled there were no grounds to sentence him to psychiatric care. Another psychiatric evaluation was ordered yesterday.

The suspect's grandfather Zivota Mijailovic, who emigrated from Serbia to Sweden in 1970, said: "I am so ashamed, I could just die. The Swedes were good to us, they gave us jobs, we owe them almost everything we have."

The naming of the suspect is controversial, because of the treatment of the man who was originally held in the case, and who has now been released without charge. During his detention extensive details of his private life were exposed in Swedish tabloids, which portrayed him as a far-right sympathiser and violent football hooligan, and which exposed details of his sex life.

Ms Lindh was stabbed in Stockholm's most prestigious department store on 10 September and died the following day from her wounds. The investigation has been dogged by controversy and Swedes are remembering the botched inquiry into the murder of the Swedish prime minister, Olof Palme, in 1986. That crime has never been solved.

In the Palme investigation, one suspect was captured and released after a week and another suspect was convicted but acquitted on appeal. Unlike the Lindh investigation, however, police never found the murder weapon. This time a forensic case seems to have been built up. Swedish media reports suggest the police have DNA evidence which links Mr Mijailovic to a baseball cap found near the scene of the crime.

Peter Althin, a lawyer for Mr Mijailovic, who has yet to be charged, said: "He's been detained, but we are miles away from a conviction in a trial. He is not guilty until there is a sentence." Mr Althin, who said his client had not yet decided whether to appeal against the detention order, criticised the judge's decision to release Mr Mijailovic's name.

But the judge said: "This is an open society and this person is a suspect on probable grounds and there is no reason to keep it classified."

Ms Lindh's death shocked Sweden, and has prompted debate about the country's open attitude to politics. Ms Lindh, who was shopping with a friend when she was attacked, did not have bodyguards. Police do not believe the attack was politically motivated, although it came just three days before Swedes rejected plans to join the euro in a referendum. Ms Lindh was a leading campaigner for the European single currency.