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Sweden

Sweden announces new prosecutor to relaunch Palme murder probe

Sweden says it will appoint prosecutor Krister Petersson to lead a new probe into the 1986 murder of the Swedish prime minister. Petersson also investigated the 2003 killing of Foreign Minister Anna Lindh.

Sweden's prosecution service has said it will in February relaunch its probe into the shooting of Prime Minister Olof Palme (pictured above), with tough prosecutor Krister Petersson appointed to take over the case.

Palme, who often went out without the protection of a bodyguard, was gunned down in the street at point-blank range on February 28, 1986, in a killing that shocked Sweden, a nation in which such violence against politicians was unprecedented at the time.

The case has never been solved, despite the 250 meters of files collected over the past three decades.

Flowers being laid at Palme's grave (Reuters/J. Ekstromer/TT News Agency)

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven in February commemorated the 30th annivesary of the assassination

'Interesting and important task'

Petersson, who is chief prosecutor chiefly for organized crime in Stockholm, said he felt honored at the appointment.

"I accept the mission with a great amount of energy," he said in a statement, calling the investigation "an interesting and important task."

He is no stranger to political violence, having also led the investigation into the murder of Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, who fell victim to a stabbing attack at the hands of a mentally disturbed man in a department store in 2003.

In a bizarre coincidence, the new investigator's name is almost identical with that of a man convicted in 1989 of Palme's murder, Christer Petersson. That Petersson, who was convicted of the crime after being identified in a line-up by Palme's wife, Lisbet, was released by an appeals court just months after his imprisonment, and died in 2004. 

The court had dismissed Lisbet Palme's testimony on a technicality, with the police arrangment of the line-up coming under vehement criticism at the time.

In the course of previous investigations into the assassination, more than 10,000 people have been questioned, and 134 have claimed responsibility for the crime.

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