Chief Prosecutor K.G. Svensson asked today that charges of complicity in the murder of prime minister Olof Palme be placed against a 32-year-old Swede who was arrested last week in the case.
Svensson said the suspect had made telephone calls before the murder in which he said: "Palme is on the death list. Blood will flow on Stockholm's streets."
The prosecutor referred only to "the 32-year-old," in accordance with Swedish legal restrictions on public identification of accused persons. However, Stockholm newspaper reporters easily obtained the name, Victor Gunnarsson, from the police and used it to interview relatives and acquaintances of the accused after his arrest last Wednesday.
Under sweeping social legislation adopted here after World War II, the Swedish media are prohibited in most cases even from identifying persons convicted. There are exceptions, such as in spy cases. But even when police are seeking a suspect, only an age and perhaps a description will be used.
The court must announce by Thursday whether evidence warrants charging the suspect. If so, his name will then be posted, but not be made available in print or on radio or television.
Svenssen told the court, "There is now probable grounds to suspect the man of complicity in the murder as perpetrator. It is most important that he be detained until the suspicions have been further investigated."
Without this plea, Gunnarsson would have been freed today. He now can be held another five days.
Svenssen said literature attacking Palme was found in the suspect's suburban apartment, some of it printed by the extreme right-wing European Workers' Party, based in Wiesbaden, West Germany.
Police said they are investigating a possible link between the party and the Palme killing 17 days ago. The European Workers' Party carried out a virulent campaign against Palme in Sweden, producing a pamphlet purporting to be a "missing chapter" in his life, in which it accused his family of having Nazi links.
The party has distributed anti-Palme badges and car stickers outside Stockholm's main department store.
Stockholm police chief Hans Holmer, at a press conference, accused the suspect of lying concerning his whereabouts on the night of the assassination. Holmer said the suspect, who denied involvement, had been spotted trying to flag down a car near the scene of the murder and had rushed into a nearby late-night movie theater.
"All his actions indicate a man running away from something," said Holmer, who added that the man's clothing had been sent to a laboratory in Wiesbaden for detailed examination by forensic scientists. According to the Stockholm evening newspaper Expressen, Swedish forensic experts beliefe they have discovered powder burns on the sleeve of the suspect's jacket.
"This man is known to have on several occasions given vent to threatening outbursts against Olof Palme," said Holmer. "We shall be making more arrests."
Lawyer Gunnar Falk, representing the accused, has said his client vaguely resembles a computer-enhanced portrait drawn by an artist who saw a man who police said may have killed Palme.
Gunnarsson's 34-year-old former wife, a Swede who now lives in the United States, was quoted by the Stockholm evening newspaper Aftonbladet as saying: "He thought Sweden would be sold to the Russians in two years." In accord with Swedish law, she was not identified by name.
"For him, the U.S.A. was the angel and the Soviet Union the devil. And he thought Palme would lead Sweden into the devil's grasp. He talked about it all the time. He had very strange ideas," she said.
The woman said she last met her former husband on a subway train in Stockholm in 1983. "He said he had been in India and had become a Hare Krishna."
Meanwhile, in a churchyard a few hundred yards from the spot where Palme was gunned down Feb. 28, thousands of Swedes continued to file past his grave.