Stockholm attack suspect Rakhmat Akilov admits terrorist crime

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 21, 2017

In a court hearing, his lawyer confirmed the 39-year-old committed an act of terror.

The construction worker had an asylum request rejected by Sweden past year and was arrested several hours after the attack in the Stockholm suburb of Marsta, police said.

After reporters were let back in, the judge, Malou Lindblom, announced that she had ordered Akilov held until May 11, citing the risk that he might disappear, damage evidence or "continue with criminal activity".

After Eriksson's statement, the rest of the hearing was held behind closed doors at the request of the public prosecutor's office; journalists were told to wait outside.

Akilov on Monday requested his lawyer be replaced by a Sunni Muslim but that request was rejected, officials said.

Court papers showed that Akilov, whose application for Swedish residency was turned down previous year, is suspected of crimes against national security and terrorism.

"It makes me frustrated", Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told Swedish news agency TT on Sunday.

Confirming that police have discovered a suspect device inside the lorry which was driven into a Stockholm department store on Friday, National Police Commissioner Dan Eliasson said the technical device was found in the driver's seat of the vehicle.

Four people were killed, including Brit dad-of-two Chris Bevinton, and dozens more injured in the harrowing attack, which showed similarities to the London terror attack last month.

The Aftonbladet newspaper reported that he had said he was "pleased with what he had done".

"The bombings in Syria have to end", he was quoted as saying.

Akilov was brought into the court in handcuffs and amid beefed security.

Swedish authorities say Akilov was known to have expressed sympathies with extremist organizations, including Islamic state (IS).

Just over two weeks ago, five people died in a terror attack outside the United Kingdom parliament in London.

Earlier Monday, some gathered outside the Ahlens department store, among them John Holmstrom, an employee who said he'd been at work just two hours before the attack.

After the attack, Swedish Justice Minister Morgan Johansson told AFP that he is seeking to toughen the nation's terrorism laws.

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