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The Assassination of the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs


  • The authors’ views do not necessarily reflect the position or opinions of the Swedish Government or the University of California.

Additional information and reprint requests:
J. Reid Meloy, Ph.D.
PO Box 90699
San Diego, CA 92169


Abstract:  On September 10, 2003, Anna Lindh, the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, was assassinated. The offender, a 24-year-old man, was a socially isolated, culturally and familially dislocated, yet academically quite competent young man who became enthralled with the habitual criminality of some of his relatives and their associates, and then psychiatrically decompensated in his early twenties. He had a history of serious violence before the crime, including the gross assault with a knife of his alcoholic and abusive father when he was 17, stalking, and extortion. At least a year prior to the assassination, he confided to a friend his desire to attack someone famous in front of many people. A definitive motive for the crime was not possible to establish. This was an act of intended, yet opportunistic violence toward a national political figure. The dynamics of the case are placed in the context of other attacks on Western European and U.S. politicians.