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article imageProbe into 1986 Swedish PM murder nearing its end: prosecutor

By AFP     Feb 19, 2020 in World

The investigation into the unsolved 1986 murder of Swedish prime minister Olof Palme will wrap up within months, the prosecutor in charge said Wednesday, signalling the last phase of a mystery that has gripped the country for decades.

Prosecutors will "either press charges or close the investigation," Krister Petersson, who leads the investigation, told AFP, adding that they would announce a decision by the end of June.

Palme was killed on February 28, 1986, after leaving a Stockholm cinema with his wife Lisbet to walk home, having dismissed his bodyguards for the evening.

An unidentified attacker approached the couple and shot Palme in the back and fled, leaving the 59-year-old dying in a pool of blood on the sidewalk.

On the 30th anniversary of the crime, current prime minister Stefan Lofven called the unsolved murder an "open wound".

More than 10,000 people have been questioned, 134 people have claimed responsibility, and the case files take up 250 meters of shelf space.

Petersson, who took over the investigation in 2017, said one reason for closing the investigation could be that the prime suspect is no longer alive, because in Sweden a dead person cannot be indicted.

Several experts and op-eds in Swedish media have speculated that the most likely scenario would be that the case will be closed, because the main suspects speculated about in the media in recent years are all dead.

Christer Pettersson, a petty criminal and drug addict who coincidentally has a similar name to the prosecutor, was convicted of the crime in July 1989 after Lisbet Palme identified him in a widely-criticised line-up.

But he was freed months later by an appeals court which dismissed Lisbet's testimony on a technicality. He died in 2004.

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