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Police Arrest Swedish Suspect in Palme Death

March 13, 1986|From Times Wire Services

STOCKHOLM — Police today announced the arrest of a suspect in the assassination of Prime Minister Olof Palme, and state radio said he is a 35-year-old Swede.

Stockholm lawyer Henning Sjostrom, who spoke to the suspect, said in a radio interview that the man was arrested because he had been in the area of the murder and had no clear alibi.

"I am convinced there is no reason to hold him," Sjostrom said.

Sjostrom told the Swedish news agency TT that the man is an ordinary Swede with a respectable job and no foreign connections.

Can Be Held Five Days

"He denies all involvement in the murder and is shocked at being suspected," Sjostrom said. "Like many other young men, he was in the area on the night of the murder to meet friends and enjoy himself."

Police said the man was arrested last night. Under Swedish law, police can hold him five days and must then either charge or release him.

"We hope to make a decision on this much sooner," the police spokesman said.

The search for Palme's killer has become the biggest homicide investigation in Swedish history. The Swedish leader was shot dead as he walked home with his wife after watching a movie at a Stockholm theater Feb. 28.

Sweden's new prime minister, Ingvar Carlsson, named his Cabinet today, leaving the makeup virtually unchanged from that of his assassinated predecessor and promising "not to give in" to violence.

Carlsson also affirmed the nation's traditional policy of neutrality in foreign affairs and vowed to maintain its open society, where leaders normally mingle freely with average citizens.

He pledged to carry on Palme's efforts for peace and nuclear disarmament, saying, "Every effort must be made to reduce and in the long term eliminate the threat of nuclear war."

Carlsson did not announce a new vice prime minister, but his office later said Minister of Agriculture Svante Lundqvist would assume the position.

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