STOCKHOLM, Sweden – A Swedish court ruled Friday that a suspect in the murder of Foreign Minister Anna Lindh (search) can be held for two weeks while police and prosecutors gather more evidence.
Judge Goeran Nilsson (search) handed down the decision Friday morning after a closed-door hearing inside police headquarters in Stockholm.
Nilsson said that charges against the suspect, Mijailo Mijailovic (search), must be filed by prosecutors no later than Oct. 10.
Mijailovic has prior convictions for stabbing his father with a knife, illegal gun possession and making threatening phone calls to two women, court documents show.
A psychiatric evaluation in connection with the 1997 trial for the stabbing of his father, who survived the attack, found the man was "in great need of psychiatric and psychotherapeutic efforts," but there were no medical grounds to sentence him to psychiatric care. He was sentenced to probation, court documents show.
Lindh was stabbed in the chest, stomach and arms by an unknown assailant on Sept. 10 while shopping with a friend at a crowded department store in downtown Stockholm. She died from her injuries a day later.
Nilsson said that Mijailovic posed a flight risk and could jeopardize the investigation if he were set free.
Peter Althin, Mijailovic's lawyer, said his client denied being involved in the killing and asked the court to release the suspect.
Mijailovic was arrested Wednesday and interrogated for an hour on Thursday, police said.
Still haunted by the unsolved 1986 murder of Prime Minister Olof Palme, police said they are examining every possibility in the hunt for Lindh's killer. The investigation first centered on a 35-year-old drifter who was detained for a week after prosecutors said there was "reasonable cause" he was Lindh's killer.
Lindh's death sent shock waves across the Scandinavian country of 9 million and evoked painful memories of the Palme murder, who, like Lindh, had no bodyguards when he was killed.
In the Palme investigation, one suspect was captured and released after a week. Another suspect was convicted but acquitted after he appealed. Unlike the Lindh investigation, however, police never found the murder weapon used to kill the prime minister.
The previous suspect in Lindh's murder was detained after police said he appeared to match surveillance camera pictures. Investigators acknowledged the evidence against him wasn't conclusive.
Police do not believe the attack was politically motivated, although it came just three days before Swedes voted in a referendum on adopting the euro, which failed. Lindh was a leading campaigner for replacing the Swedish krona with the euro.