Case closed: Swedish prosecutor says man who killed himself in 2000 assassinated Olof Palme

Palme was shot dead in central Stockholm in 1986 after a visit to the cinema with his wife and son.

Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme was fatally shot at point-blank range on one of the busiest streets in downtown Stockholm as he and his wife Lisbet were leaving a movie theater on February 28, 1986.

Over three decades of mystery and endless conspiracy theories may have ended today after Swedish prosecutors said who pulled the trigger, assassinating Sweden’s Social Democrat two-time PM Olof Plame in 1986.

Palme was a close friend of Greece’s late PM Andreas Papandreou, and an avenue in Athens was named after the slain Swedish leader.
Chief Prosecutor Krister Petersson announced today – after a 34-year investigation – that it was Stig Engstrom, a graphic designer known as «Skandia Man» who committed suicide in 2000.

Palme was shot dead in central Stockholm in 1986 after a visit to the cinema with his wife and son. The murder sparked a massive manhunt and a plethora of conspiracy theories involving shadowy forces ranging from the CIA and Kurdish separatists to the South African security services.

While a petty criminal was convicted of Palme’s killing, the judgment was later overturned and the police’s failure to identify the culprit has left a scar on the psyche of a country that still prides itself on how safe it is to walk its streets.

Palme was prime minister between 1969 and 1976 and between 1982 and 1986. Some hail him as the architect of modern Sweden, but conservatives hated his anti-colonial views and criticism of the United States.

So many years after the killing, few Swedes had expected a resolution of the nation’s most high-profile murder case, and prosecutor Krister Petersson’s announcement in February that he was close to wrapping it up ignited a storm of debate.

He has been tight-lipped since then, but on Wednesday, Petersson will announce his conclusions at a news conference that has attracted huge media attention, knocking coronavirus updates off many newspaper front pages.

A comment by Petersson that he may not be able to bring a prosecution has been seen as a suggestion that the suspected killer is already dead.
And naming a suspect may not end put an end to the conspiracy theories.

“If we get a clear answer, it will mean that one of the biggest political and judicial mysteries in Sweden has finally been solved,” Gunnar Wall, a journalist who has written several books about Palme’s killing, said.

“If what is put forward now is another uncertain hypothesis …it will just strengthen the feeling that many people have that the Swedish justice system does not work very well.”

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