STOCKHOLM, Feb 13 — An Uzbek asylum seeker who confessed to wanting to mow down “infidels” in an April 2017 Stockholm truck attack that killed five people pleaded guilty to terrorism charges today as his trial opened.
Rakhmat Akilov appeared in the Stockholm courtroom, handcuffed amid tight security, wearing green prison clothes and with a shaved head and a beard, accompanied by his lawyer Johan Eriksson.
Akilov, whose Swedish asylum application had been rejected in 2016, had sworn allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) on the eve of his assault in one of Europe’s safest cities, though the jihadist group never claimed responsibility.
On the afternoon of Friday, April 7, Akilov stole a beer delivery truck and barrelled down a bustling pedestrian shopping street, swerving wildly to hit as many people as possible. He killed five and injured 10.
Rakhmat “Akilov took the truck... and drove it the way the prosecutor described. He killed five people and physically injured 10,” his lawyer Johan Eriksson told the court.
“The motive was to instigate fear and to get Sweden to end its participation in the coalition against the Islamic State,” he added.
Akilov fled the scene and was arrested several hours later thanks to public transport video surveillance images. He confessed in police questioning. — AFP