Saturday, 13, July, 2024

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

In January, Rakmat Akilov was charged with terror-related murder and attempted murder for the attack with a beer truck on April 7, 2017.

Those killed 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. 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 defense lawyer Johan Eriksson said his client had been cooperative throughout the investigation and should be given a lesser sentence.

Palmkvist said the fact that Akilov had been cooperative and had confessed didn't have any influence on the lifetime sentence, which is the heaviest penalty in Sweden and is normally about 18 years. The court sentenced Akilov to be expelled from Sweden after he serves his sentence and banned him from returning.

After ploughing the truck into a crowd on a busy shopping street and crashing into the upscale Ahlens department store in central Stockholm, Akilov also planned to blow himself up. He failed, and caused a smaller explosion inside the truck. He then fled via the subway but was arrested hours later.

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.

Instead, he went underground, eluding authorities' attempts to track him down. Sweden's domestic intelligence agency has said it had nothing indicating that he was planning an attack.

The Stockholm district court on Thursday ordered him to be deported from Sweden once his life sentence — which is often about 15-20 years but can be as much as 35 — is served..

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