Mijailovic appeals against life sentence

The life sentence handed down to Mijail Mijailovic in March for the murder of Anna Lindh was thought by most people to have brought the whole tragic story to a close.

But on Tuesday Mijailovic’s lawyer, Peter Althin, filed an appeal on the grounds that his client was mentally disturbed when he attacked the foreign minister and had not intended to kill her. Althin also requested further psychiatric tests.

Naturally there was much speculation in the press about Mijailovic’s chances of getting the verdict reduced from murder to manslaughter.

“Nonexistent,” said lawyer Leif Silbersky in Aftonbladet. “The extreme brutality with which he stabbed Anna Lindh cannot be disregarded.”

Another lawyer, Per Samuelsson, agreed: “The assault was of such a nature that I can see no extenuating circumstances.”

The appeal court is expected to deal with the case within the next five weeks but nobody anticipates that the process will reveal a motive.

“He says his motive was that he was controlled by the voices in his head,” said Silbersky. “If he says anything else now, then any credibility he has – and that’s not much – will disappear.”

While all the papers agreed that the appeal process was going to be emotionally difficult for Anna Lindh’s family, Svenska Dagbladet reported that Kerstin Wennersten, the lawyer representing them, was herself filing an appeal – against the level of compensation the children received following their mother’s death.

Each of the two children was awarded the standard SEK50,000 for psychological trauma after the murder of a family member. But Wennersten demanded SEK100,000 each, claiming that the attention that the case has received will make it far harder for the children to come to terms with what happened.

Wennersten also pointed out that the 35-year old who was initially arrested for Anna Lindh’s murder was awarded SEK150,000 compensation on his release.