(Page 2 of 2)
If convicted of murder Mr. Mijailovic could be sentenced to a
life sentence. But his defense lawyer is expected to seek a
psychiatric report that could result in his committal to a medical
institution rather incarceration in prison. According to the police,
Mr. Mijailovic has a criminal record, including a conviction for
stabbing his father with a kitchen knife when he was 17 in 1996, and
a history of mental problems.
Much of today's testimony was broadcast live over Swedish Radio
but Judge Goran Nilsson agreed to a request by Mr. Mijailovic to
suspend the broadcasts while he was testifying. Under Swedish law,
the trial — set to end next Monday — was held before two judges and
three lay assessors.
Despite the relative speed of the police investigation — four
months from the killing to the opening of the trial — the
prosecution of Mr. Mijailovic has not allayed all the doubt provoked
when Ms. Lindh was killed, stunning a land that once prided itself
on its tolerance and its ability to care for its citizens.
But, as elsewhere in Scandinavia, costly welfare systems are
coming under increasing strain, leaving Swedes to ponder their
"Sweden needs so much more than a confession from Mijailo
Mijailovic and a well-run trial," Dagens Nyheter, the country's
leading upmarket newspaper said last week. "We would need to
reappraise our idea of ourselves. Is Sweden the homeland of peaceful
compromise, of caring for the weak? Or is Sweden really a violent
country where an astounding number of households are armed, a
country where tolerance might as well be called indifference towards
the mentally ill, drug addicts or youth on the wrong track?"
In his confession last week, Mr. Mijailovic said that, after the
killing, he had checked himself into an emergency psychiatric ward
but had been sent home after two days. "He tried to find help and
what he found was not the help he wanted," said Mr. Mankell, the
author. "He fell through the net. This is a very profound criticism
of our ability to take care of these people."