Lindh killer pleads not guilty

The self-confessed killer of Swedish foreign minister Anna Lindh has pleaded "not guilty" to a murder charge as his trial opened on Wednesday, saying he did not mean to kill the popular politician.

    Lindh's killing brought back memories of Olof Palme's murder in 1986

    The lawyer of Mijailo Mijailovic, a 25-year-old Swede born to Serbian parents, told the court on the first day of the three-day trial that his

    client did not intend to kill Lindh when he attacked her with a knife, as she was shopping in a Stockholm department store on 10 September 2003.

    "He admits that he attacked Lindh with a knife and that he caused her death, but he denies intending to kill her," lawyer Peter Althin told

    the court.

    But prosecutor Agneta Blidberg told the court that she would prove that Mijailovic wanted to kill Lindh when he attacked her, justifying the

    murder charge.

    Stabbed repeatedly in the abdomen, arms and chest, Lindh died of her injuries the following day.

    Her death sent shockwaves through Sweden and the world and rekindled memories of the still unsolved 1986 assassination of the country's

    prime minister Olof Palme that year.

    Evidence

    Mijailovic claims he has not
    intended to kill Lindh

    Given the confession and the prosecution's overwhelming evidence in the case, including DNA samples and fingerprints that link Mijailovic to

    the crime scene, the court's main task will be to determine whether Mijailovic, who has a history of psychiatric illness, intended to kill Lindh.

    If convicted of murder, he faces a life sentence, which in Sweden usually corresponds to about 15 years.

    His lawyer has, however, insisted the killing was a random act of violence, triggered by a voice in Mijailovic's head which he said was

    Jesus.

    Millions of Swedes are expected to follow the proceedings via a live radio broadcast, for the first time in Swedish history.

    However, the court is expected to agree to the defence's request that Mijailovic's testimony not be aired live.

    Before pronouncing its verdict, the court is expected to order a month-long psychiatric examination of Mijailovic.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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