Supreme Court reopens Lindh murder case

Just two days after the anniversary of her death, Sweden's Supreme Court reopened the murder case of stabbed foreign minister Anna Lindh. The court agreed to review a controversial appeals court decision which overturned Mijailo Mijailovic's original sentence of life imprisonment and instead ordered him into psychiatric care.

Lindh’s widower, Bo Holmberg, hailed the court’s decision, telling the media that he hoped this would mean Mijailovic would serve the life term. He added that he did not believe Mijailovic is suffering from a serious mental illness.

Prosecutor General Fredrik Wersäll echoed Holmberg’s comments, saying the court’s decision to hear the appeals “is satisfactory”.

In its decision, the appeals court said Mijailovic “committed the crime under the influence of a serious psychiatric disorder and he still suffers from this disorder”, citing experts who concluded that he suffered from an unspecified psychotic syndrome.

But according to Wersäll, the psychiatric expertise that the ruling was based on did not irrefutably show that Mijailovic had been suffering from a serious mental illness when he attacked Lindh or that he was still suffering from such an illness. In Sweden, it is illegal to sentence people with serious mental illnesses to prison.

Wersäll and Lindh’s family had joined forces to fight the appeals court decision, while Mijailovic had requested through his lawyer Peter Althin that the murder conviction be reversed entirely.

Majailovic has claimed that he was under the influence of a ‘cocktail of anti-depressants’ at the time of the killing and was hearing voices that told him to attack her. He said that while he admitted attacking Lindh, he had not meant to kill her.

Now Althin says that he isn’t sure his client is strong enough to make it through another hearing.

The case is expected to be heard later this autumn.

  • Anna Lindh was stabbed on September 10th, 2003, while shopping at the Stockholm department store NK. She died of her injuries early the following day.

  • One result of her death was evident at the opening of parliament on Tuesday, when Prime Minister Göran Persson said Sweden’s National Security Police will be getting more resources to increase protection of leading government members. Prior to Lindh’s death, most prominent politicians in this country moved freely in public with no protection.

Judi Lembke