Facebook Twitter

Swedes honor their slain diplomat

SHARE Swedes honor their slain diplomat

STOCKHOLM, Sweden — Amid intensive security, dignitaries from around the world gathered Friday to honor slain Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh as a peerless diplomat and advocate for democracy and equality.

In Stockholm's City Hall, some 1,300 guests gathered for the 90-minute memorial organized by Lindh's Social Democratic Party. Later, a court ruled that the man suspected of killing her be held at least another week as investigators gather more evidence against him.

Prosecutors sought the court order, arguing that the 35-year-old drifter was a flight risk.

Lindh, 46, had been foreign minister since 1998 and was touted as a future prime minister of the Scandinavian country of 9 million. She was stabbed in the chest, stomach and arms on Sept. 10 as she shopped at an upscale department store.

Inside the red-bricked room of City Hall, where the annual Nobel Prize banquet is held, the guests included European Commission President Romano Prodi, former chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix and Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf. They sat before a grand staircase that served as a stage and heard eulogies from Prime Minister Goeran Persson, Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou and EU External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten.

"We shall carry the memory of Anna with us as an invisible treasure from which to gather strength," Persson said.

Papandreou, who lived and studied in Sweden, called Lindh a diplomat without equal and decried her death.

"We, politicians, don't always take time to put words to our emotions, but you were an exception," he said in fluent Swedish. "You dared to be sincere."

As he stepped down from the staircase landing, he placed an olive branch in front a large photo of her.

Calling Lindh "a woman who loved the world and who was loved by the world," Patten said she was unusual among diplomats.

"Anna had no problems in using ethics and foreign policy in the same sentence," he said.

Security around the event was intensive with canal locks closed, private flights banned and hundreds of extra police on the streets. In the waters surrounding the building, patrol boats moved back and forth. Police snipers were stationed atop neighboring buildings.

Lindh's killing brought back memories of Prime Minister Olof Palme, who was shot and killed in 1986 as he walked home from a movie with his wife.

On Friday morning, Swedes were still signing condolence books, leaving messages of remorse to Lindh's husband and two boys.