STOCKHOLM: Sweden on Wednesday marks the 10th anniversary of the death of foreign minister Anna Lindh, who was fatally stabbed as she shopped at a Stockholm department store without a bodyguard.

Mijailo Mijailovic, a then 24-year-old Serbian Swede who has since renounced his Swedish citizenship, attacked Lindh at the posh NK store as she shopped with a friend on the afternoon of Sept 10, 2003. The 46-year-old mother of two young boys died of massive internal bleeding in the wee hours of September 11, plunging the country into shock.

The killing brought back painful memories of the still-unsolved 1986 assassination of prime minister Olof Palme.

Lindh, a Social Democrat, was seen by many as a possible future prime minister at the time of her death.

On Wednesday evening, a memorial concert will be held in Stockholm’s Kungstraedgaarden square, across the street from NK, featuring several popular Swedish acts. Current Social Democratic Party leader Stefan Loefven and former party leader Mona Sahlin — who was a close friend of Lindh’s — will hold speeches at the event, as will current Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, a member of the conservative Moderate Party.

Several documentaries about Lindh are also scheduled to be broadcast on television to mark the anniversary.

Mijailovic, who stabbed Lindh repeatedly in the arms, chest and abdomen, had a history of psychiatric problems and claimed during his three trials that voices in his head told him to attack.

But in an August 2011 interview, he claimed he had made that up, and said he invoked the “nonsense” claim in the hopes of avoiding prison by being declared mentally unstable.

“I didn’t hear voices. That was nothing but empty talk,” Mijailovic, who is serving a life sentence, told Sweden’s Expressen tabloid.

“I felt a hatred for politicians, both Swedish and Serb I blamed them for all of my failures,” added Mijailovic, who was born in Sweden to Serbian parents.

“I was living off small unemployment benefits... I didn’t have any training, no future. I was someone without work, without a car, without friends, without a chance,” he said.—AFP

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