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Swede to Be Charged in Palme Death : Rightist Allegedly Told Witness Premier Was on 'Death List'

March 17, 1986|From Reuters

STOCKHOLM — A prosecutor today asked a judge to charge a right-winger who said Olof Palme was on a "death list," and who once fled to California for fear the prime minister would let Kremlin "devils" take over Sweden, with involvement in his murder.

Public Prosecutor K.G. Svensson, who made the accusation against the 32-year-old Swede, said in a statement:

"As a result of investigations carried out to date, probable reasons have emerged which, in the public prosecutor's view, indicate that the man participated in the murder as a perpetrator."

The prosecutor's statement said a search of the man's home had shown clearly that he was hostile to the premier, who was slain Feb. 28 as he left a Stockholm movie theater with his wife, Lisbet.

'Blood on the Streets'

"According to one witness, the man made remarks in a telephone call in February to the effect that 'Palme was on the death list' and 'blood would flow on the streets of Stockholm,' " the statement said.

It added that the suspect could not produce an alibi for the evening in question and had changed his story several times when confronted with witnesses.

The man was arrested March 12. He has not been named so far, in accordance with Swedish legal practice.

Svensson said the man had been seen in the immediate vicinity of the murder scene several minutes after the shooting.

"The man denies the crime," the prosecutor said. "He has not been tied to the crime by inquiries to date, but as there are probable reasons for suspicion . . . it is very important that he should be held until the suspicions have been investigated further."

Tried to Flee Scene

Stockholm Police Chief Hans Holmer refused to say whether the man was thought to have fired the shot that killed Palme.

Holmer said the man had tried unsuccessfully to flag down a car on a street soon after the murder. He then went into a movie long after the performance started.

"Everything gives the impression that he was running away," the police chief said.

A Swedish newspaper quoted the ex-wife of the suspect as saying they had moved to the United States in 1981 because of his hatred of Palme and his fear that Sweden would be taken over by the Soviet Union.

"For him the United States was the angel and the Soviet Union the devil," the woman told the newspaper Aftonbladet. "He thought Palme would lead Sweden into the devil's grasp."

Aftonbladet did not name the woman, who lives in Los Angeles. The newspaper said the couple married in June, 1981, and then moved to the United States. They returned to Sweden in October, 1981, and divorced the following year.

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