Akilov, drottninggatan
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Left: Drottninggatan after the attack of April 7, 2017. Right: A photo from the police's investigation preliminary enquiry report into the Rakhmat Akilov case. Picture comes from Akilov's phone. Credit: Left: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT. Right: From the police's preliminary enquiry report.
The verdict is announced at Stockholm district court, June 7, 2018.
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The verdict is announced at Stockholm district court, June 7, 2018. Credit: Anders Wiklund/TT

Akilov guilty of terrorism in Stockholm truck attack

3:49 min

Rakhmat Akilov, a rejected Uzbek asylum seeker who carried out a deadly truck attack in Stockholm last year, has been found guilty on terrorism charges.

A Stockholm district court found the 40-year-old guilty of terrorism, attempting to carry out a terrorist act and causing others to be endangered.

Three Swedes, including an 11-year-old girl, a 31-year-old Belgian woman, as well as a 41-year-old British man, were killed when Akilov drove a stolen beer truck down a major pedestrianised shopping street in Stockholm on April 7, 2017. Ten more were injured.

Rakhmat Akilov has been sentenced to serve a life sentence in prison and will be extradited after his sentence is finished. A life sentence in Sweden does not necessarily mean that Akilov will spend the rest of his life in prison, though he will have to serve at least 18 years (link in Swedish), which is the minimum.

He was found guilty of murdering five people, which counted as acts of terrorism, guilty on 119 counts of attempted murder (relating to the number of people on Drottninggatan who were forced to flee the truck) and 24 counts of causing others to be endangered. 

The Court has examined a large number of claims for damages. It said that victims of attempted murder, or the crime causing danger to another person, have been awarded damages for the infringement of their integrity. Surviving relatives of those who have been murdered have been awarded damages for personal injuries. The amounts have mainly been determined in accordance with court practice, but have in some cases been set above the standardized sums that exist in Swedish tort law.

During a trial that lasted almost three months, Akilov, who swore allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group on the eve of his attack, told the court during his trial that IS members had given him the green light on encrypted chat sites to carry out a suicide attack in the Swedish capital.

However, the jihadist organisation never claimed responsibility for the assault.

Akilov told the court his motive was to pressure "Sweden to end its participation in the fight against the caliphate, to stop sending its soldiers to war zones."

He said he had planned to die as a martyr and did not expect to survive the attack, which ended when the truck he was driving crashed into the facade of a large department store.

An explosive device – made up of five gas canisters and nails – didn't explode as planned and caused fire damage only to the truck. 

He escaped on foot and was arrested several hours later from public transport video surveillance images and eyewitness reports. He confessed almost immediately to the crime.

Rakhmat Akilov arrived in Sweden in 2014 and his application for residency was rejected in June 2016. He later went underground to avoid expulsion and worked odd jobs in construction. His wife and children stayed behind in Uzbekistan.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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