Stockholm attack suspect Rakhmat Akilov admits terrorist crime

Lawyer tells court his Uzbek client, wearing thick green hoodie and holding his head down, accepts he will be detained

The main suspect in the lorry attack in Stockholm on Friday that killed four and injured 15 has admitted committing a terrorist crime, his lawyer has said.
 A woman lays a candle to commemorate the victims of the terror attack at a makeshift memorial near the site in Stockholm.



Johan Eriksson, a lawyer for Rakhmat Akilov, 39, told a heavily guarded custody hearing at Stockholm district court: “His position is that he admits to a terrorist crime and accepts therefore that he will be detained.”

Akilov, who is from Uzbekistan, appeared in court wearing a thick green hoodie and holding his head down. After Eriksson’s statement, the rest of the hearing was held behind closed doors at the request of the public prosecutor’s office and journalists were told to wait outside.

On Monday Akilov had demanded that his state-appointed lawyer be replaced with a Sunni Muslim – a request that was refused.

A Briton and an 11-year-old girl were among those killed when a lorry mowed down pedestrians in a busy shopping district in the Swedish capital.


Akilov, a construction worker, was arrested several hours after the attack in Marsta, a suburb north of Stockholm.

Police said on Sunday that they had been searching for Akilov, who was arrested on “reasonable suspicion of terrorist homicide”, since February.

In 2014 he applied for a residence permit in Sweden, but last summer the application was rejected and he faced expulsion. In February, police were instructed to carry out the deportation, but he had disappeared.

On 24 February police put out a description of the man, whose case was one of 10,000 being processed for deportation at the time. His application was handled “in accordance with normal procedures”, police told a press conference.

“If we do not know where they are, we cannot enforce the expulsion,” the national police commander, Jonas Hysing, said.

The Swedish prime minister, Stefan Löfven, told a conference of the ruling Social Democratic party on Sunday: “It makes me extremely frustrated – if you have been turned down, leave the country.”
Policemen guard Stockholm district court before the detention of Rakhmat Akilov, the suspect in Friday’s deadly attack.

A further arrest was made in Sollentuna, a northern suburb of Stockholm, on Sunday morning. More than 500 people had been interviewed, police said, adding that the main suspect had allegedly expressed sympathy for jihadi organisations.

Police are closely cooperating with Sweden’s security service, Säpo, as well as Europol and Interpol, and are continuing to work on people of interest to the investigation, they said.

Pictures taken at the scene of Friday’s incident showed a large, blue beer lorry with a mangled undercarriage smashed into a department store.

Witnesses described scenes of terror and panic. “A massive truck starts driving … and mangles everything and just drives over exactly everything,” Rikard Gauffin told Agence France-Presse. “There were bodies lying everywhere. It was really terrifying.”

Löfven said he had strengthened border controls in response to the attack. “Terrorists want us to be afraid, want us to change our behaviour, want us to not live our lives normally, but that is what we’re going to do,” he said. “So terrorists can never defeat Sweden, never.”


guardian

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