Truck attack suspect admits to terror crime

Claudine Rigal
Avril 17, 2017

A failed asylum-seeker accused of ramming a truck into a Stockholm crowd last week, killing four people, has confessed to committing a terrorist crime, his lawyer said on Tuesday.

Four people were killed - two Swedes, a Belgian woman and a British man - and 15 injured after an attacker drove a truck down Drottninggatan street Friday afternoon, sending pedestrians diving into shops for cover before the truck plowed into the Åhlens City department store.

After the court hearing, his lawyer, Johan Eriksson, said Akilov is "pleading guilty" to Friday's attack but said he was not allowed to say more about the case.

After about an hour, journalists were readmitted into the courtroom and the judge remanded Akilov in custody.

Police said Akilov had gone underground after his application for Swedish residency.

Police said Akilov was known to have been sympathetic to extremist organisations but that there was nothing to indicate he might plan an attack.

The construction worker, who was arrested in a Stockholm suburb hours after last Friday's attack, appeared handcuffed and wearing a thick green hoodie over his head.

Court documents seen by AFP showed Akilov, who is facing a lengthy prison sentence, had requested that his state-appointed lawyer Johan Eriksson be replaced by a Sunni Muslim, saying "only a lawyer of this faith could assert his interests in the best way".

Eriksson said the court had ordered Akilov to undergo a psychiatric evaluation as a standard procedure, and that a confession alone would not lead to a conviction. Police would only say the suspect was male.

Sweden's prosecution authority said on Tuesday it had revoked the arrest of a second, unidentified suspect in connection with the truck attack.

"We will continue to investigate if Akilov had other people around him" who may have been accomplices, Ihrman said.

The Times also reports that the Swedish Security Service, Sapo, had warned in March that an attack by a lone terrorist was likely to happen in the country within the year. In February, his case was handed to police to deport him after he failed to leave the country.

On Monday, Sweden observed a minute of silence as part of a national day of mourning for the victims of the attack.

Responding to the attack, Swedish Justice Minister Morgan Johansson said he wanted to toughen the nation's terrorism laws.

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