Monday, February 28, 2011

Pop History Moment: The Killing of Olof Palme

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On this day in 1986 Sweden's two-time Prime Minister Olof Palme - head of the Social Democratic Party and a well-respected (if low-key) diplomat on the world stage - was assassinated on a street in Stockholm, in front of his wife Lisbet, who was also injured in the attack.

Shortly thereafter the well-known right-wing extremist Victor Gunnarsson was arrested, and questioned by police, only to be released. It was more than two years later that a petty criminal named Christer Pettersson was arrested, tried, and convicted of the crime; he was released on appeal a year later, and died in 2004.

No one else has ever been charged, although several suspects have been discussed in the more than twenty years since Palme's murder, including South African superspy Craig Williamson, Anthony White, and Bertil Wedin; Germany's Red Army Faction (also known as the Bader-Meinhof) have actually claimed responsibility. As many motives as killers have also been suggested, from Palme's opposition to apartheid, his role in 1975's West German embassy siege, and a Swedish weapons deal with India.

To date the investigation into the killing of Olof Palme has cost the government of Sweden € 38 million and produced 700,000 pages of documentation, yet no answers...
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