Zaida Catalán in 2009
Swedish UN worker Zaida Catalán was murdered in March. Credit: Bertil Ericson / TT

No progress in murder investigation of Swedish UN worker

2:52 min

Sweden's preliminary investigation into the murder of Swedish UN worker Zaida Catalán in the Democratic Republic of Congo has stalled. Prosecutors blame Congolese authorities for being unwilling to co-operate.

On 12 March, the Swedish-Chilean UN worker Zaida Catalán disappeared alongside US citizen Michael Sharp and their Congolese interpreter Betu Shintela, while gathering evidence of mass graves in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Kasai region. Their bodies were uncovered on 27 March.

Public prosecutor Sara Nilsson told Radio Sweden there had been very little progress in Sweden's preliminary investigation into the murder, as it is "completely reliant" on technical evidence and witness statements from Congo, and co-operation with the Congolese authorities had not been working. 

A request for Congolese legal assistance was made on 27 April, but no information was delivered to Sweden. The Swedish Prosecution Authority claims that the Congolese investigation "does not fulfil basic requirements of legal certainty and has obvious flaws in key aspects". 

Additionally, the authority has not ruled out the possibility that people connected to the Congolese regime might be involved in the murder. Nilsson said that now, the Swedish investigation will continue with whatever evidence is available in Sweden and other countries.

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