Stockholm truck attacker sentenced to life by Swedish court

Rakmat Akilov convicted of terror-related murder over 2017 attack that killed five

The truck that crashed into a department store in central Stockholm on April 7th, 2017. It was driven by Uzbek national Rakhmat Akilov. Photograph: Anders Wiklund/EPA

The truck that crashed into a department store in central Stockholm on April 7th, 2017. It was driven by Uzbek national Rakhmat Akilov. Photograph: Anders Wiklund/EPA

 

A man who drove a stolen truck into a crowd in Stockholm, killing five people and wounding 14 others, has been convicted of terror-related murder and given a life sentence.

Rakmat Akilov, from Uzbekistan, had said he wanted to punish Sweden for joining a coalition against Islamic State. In January, he was charged with terror-related murder and attempted murder for the attack with a stolen beer truck on April 7th, 2017. The victims were a British man, a Belgian woman and three Swedes, including an 11-year-old girl.

Judge Ragnar Palmkvist said Akilov (40) was the only suspect in the attack, and that prosecutor Hans Ihrman called him a “security risk to society” during his trial at the Stockholm district court. The prosecution had demanded a life sentence, while defence lawyer Johan Eriksson said his client had been co-operative throughout the investigation and should be given a time-limited sentence.

During the court proceedings that started on February 13th and ended on May 2nd, Mr Ihrman said that “Akilov took the right to determine the fate of so many people. Now it is the turn of the democratic rule of law to determine the fate of Akilov”.

After ploughing the truck into a crowd of shoppers on a busy shopping street and crashing into the upscale Ahlens department store in Stockholm’s city centre, Akilov also planned to blow himself up.

He failed, and caused a smaller explosion inside the truck when a suspected bomb made of five gas canisters with dozens of screws, blades and smaller metal objects went off. Akilov then escaped via Stockholm’s subway system but was arrested hours later in a suburb.

He was found guilty of five counts of terror-related murder, 119 counts of attempted murder and 24 cases of endangering the life of others. – AP