An Uzbek man who rammed a stolen truck right into a crowd in downtown Stockholm in April, killing 5 and injuring 14, was charged Tuesday with terrorism, attempts to carry out a terror act and endangering others.
Rakhmat Akilov is the one suspect and has already confessed. He was arrested hours after he drove a stolen beer truck right into a crowd of people on a busy pedestrian shopping road and crashed it into an upscale department retailer in Stockholm’s metropolitan heart on April 7. A British man, a Belgian lady and three Swedes were killed.
“Akilov wanted to punish Sweden for taking part in the international coalition against (the Islamic State group),” prosecutor Hans Ihrman said at a news conference.
Johan Eriksson, Akilov’s defense lawyer, confirmed that was his client’s motive. He stated Akilov admits committing terror and exposing folks to attempted homicide, and has been cooperative in the course of the investigation.
Ihrman stated he would demand that Akilov get a life sentence. No date was immediately set for a trial.
“My aim is that Akilov should never be allowed to move freely in our society,” he stated. “I hope and believe that a trial will give us more answers to what happened. And why. These answers are important for our open society.”
According to the charges obtained by the Associated Press, prosecutors say Akilov had offered to the Islamic State group to carry out an assault in Stockholm on behalf of the group, and had gathered details about doable targets. It was not clear whether or not the group had accepted his offer.
Investigators discovered on Akilov’s cellphone footage he had taken of streets in downtown Stockholm, “which strengthens (the theory) he was on reconnaissance of the crime scene,” in keeping with the 35-page doc.
They additionally discovered web chat logs during which Akilov mentioned becoming a martyr and swore allegiance to IS between Jan. 12, 2017, and the assault on April 7, in addition to a memory card with “material that can be connected to IS,” together with execution movies.
Sweden’s domestic intelligence agency SAPO stated it did not determine others who have been encrypted within the chat logs. Ihrman stated it was “unclear” when and how Akilov had been radicalized.
Akilov additionally triggered an explosion contained in the truck he had stolen when a suspected bomb made of 5 fuel canisters with dozens of screws, blades and smaller steel objects exploded. The blast brought on “extensive damage to the vehicle,” based on the charges.
Christer Nilsson, head investigator at Sweden’s National Operations Department, stated the police theory was that Akilov planned to blow himself up with the selfmade explosive system “but that failed.”
Swedish officers had been seeking Uzilov, a construction worker who was 39 at the time, for deportation from the country ahead of the assault because his asylum application had been rejected.
Akilov had been ordered to be deported from Sweden in December 2016. Instead, he allegedly went underground, eluding authorities’ attempts to track him down.
He had been on authorities’ radar beforehand, however police dismissed him as being of marginal interest and stated there was nothing to available that would indicate he would possibly plan an attack.
The April attack shocked Swedes, who pride themselves on their open-door immigration policies towards various Islamic migrants and refugees.
In 2015, a record 163,000 asylum-seekers arrived in Sweden — the highest per-capita level in Europe. The authorities responded by tightening border controls and curbing some immigrant rights.