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Lindh killer could serve sentence in Serbia

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17:43 CEST+02:00
Serbia has said that the man who murdered Swedish foreign minister Anna Lindh in 2003 can serve his prison sentence in a Serbian jail.

But Swedish authorities say they want confirmation of how long Mijailo Mijailovic will be held behind bars in Serbia before agreeing to the move. The issue could end up being decided at a government level.

Mijailovic's lawyer, Mikael Nilsson, says that whatever the outcome, he will not serve a life sentence.

"There is no life sentence - the longest punishment is 30 to 40 years in prison," said Nilsson, who on Tuesday received a translation of Serbia's response from the Swedish Prison and Probation Board.

The decision of whether or not to hand Mijailovic over to Serbia can be made by the Board itself, but if there are 'special circumstances' the agency can refer the matter to the government.

It was Mijailovic himself who first requested the move, saying that he felt threatened in Sweden. After the Supreme Court judgement against him, which saw him sentenced to prison rather than psychiatric care, Mijailovic gave up his Swedish citizenship. He is now only a Serbian citizen.

However, officials at the Swedish Prison and Probation Board said they are not interpreting the letter from Belgrade as a clear decision that Serbia is prepared to welcome Mijailovic.

"The response means that they informed us of their stipulations. As we interpret it, it's not an agreement on their part to take over the handling of the punishment," said Gunilla Edlund at the board's office in Norrköping.

"We're going to request more information from them. For a start, whether or not they agree."

Mijailo Mijailovic stabbed Anna Lindh while she was shopping in NK, a department store in the centre of Stockholm, in September 2003. He was sentenced the following year.

Mijailovic, who had a history of mental problems, claimed during his three trials that he heard "voices" telling him to attack Lindh. However he insisted he did not mean to kill her and had no motive.

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