Sweden: ‘A terrorist offence’ — Prosecution on trial of Stockholm truck attack suspect

The trial of the 39-year-old Uzbek asylum seeker charged with carrying out the deadly truck attack in Stockholm on April 7, 2017 started on Tuesday at the Stockholm District Court. Rakhmat Akilov is suspected of being responsible for stealing a truck and ploughing it through crowds on a pedestrian street in the Swedish capital, killing five people including a British man, a Belgian woman and three... Еще Swedes, including an 11-year-old girl, and injuring 14. Akilov is accused of «terrorism and attempted terrorism» and has ties with the self-proclaimed Islamic state (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), although the extremist group has not claimed the responsibility for the attack. The prosecution has requested that he would get a life sentence and be extradited from Sweden. Speaking to journalists Deputy Chief Prosecutor of the case Hans Ihrman explained the challenges faced by prosecution team saying: «The biggest challenge is to explain that…this is not just a murder case. It is about a terrorist, a terrorist offence.» He went on to add that the prosecution could be of certain advantage as «we can learn about the radicalisation process, about how they are carrying out this kind of act.» Johan Eriksson, Defence attorney of Rakhmat Akilov, said that «the angle is to see that it´s gonna be a fair trial, that he's gonna be convicted for what he really did, and that he gets through the trial.» The trial is scheduled to end on May 9, with the verdict being expected before summer. Akilov is scheduled to address the court on February 20. Akilov, born in 1978, was arrested in a Stockholm suburb hours after his attack thanks to public transport video surveillance. He confessed to his crimes. About 300 people have left Sweden to join jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq since 2012, according to Sapo (Swedish intelligence agency). Around 140 have returned to Sweden and around 50 have been killed.

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