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Swedish Aide Quits Over Spy's Escape on Conjugal Visit

October 20, 1987|From Reuters

STOCKHOLM — Swedish Justice Minister Sten Wickbom resigned on Monday, saying he took full responsibility for a series of bungles that led to the escape of a convicted Soviet spy during a conjugal visit.

The spy, Stig Bergling, slipped out of his wife's Stockholm apartment after he was left unguarded during a 24-hour leave on Oct. 5. He disappeared without a trace.

Wickbom told a news conference he should have been aware of information concerning Bergling's home leave that was available within the Justice Ministry before the spy's escape.

"A ministry head should not be ignorant of such vital information," Wickbom said.

The government now has to try to re-establish public respect for authorities, which has been badly shaken, he said.

Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson said he is accepting Wickbom's resignation, but praised his courage in deciding to quit.

Carlsson announced the job of justice minister will go to Anna-Greta Leijon, currently labor and sexual equality minister. He named Ingela Thalen to replace Leijon.

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