Trial continues of Uzbekistani citizen accused of Stockholm attack


STOCKHOLM -- Uzbekistani asylum seeker Rakhmat Akilov says his goal in a deadly terrorist attack last April in Stockholm was to stop Sweden from fighting the "Islamic State" (IS), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported Tuesday (February 20).

Akilov, a 39-year-old construction worker and an ethnic Tajik from Uzbekistan, is accused of ramming a delivery truck into pedestrians, killing five people on a busy Stockholm shopping street on April 7, 2017.

His trial began February 13, during which he pleaded guilty.

"I wanted Sweden to stop sending soldiers to war zones where [IS] is being attacked," Akilov told the court in Stockholm during a hearing Tuesday. He spoke in Russian through an interpreter.

He said he also wanted Sweden "to stop sending gigantic sums of money to combat [IS]".

Sweden has deployed about 70 military personnel to conduct training in northern Iraq as part of the anti-IS coalition.

Akilov confessed to police soon after his arrest, saying he wanted to run down "infidels".

The prosecution is seeking a life sentence and, thereafter, his expulsion from the country. A life sentence in Sweden averages 16 years.

The trial is scheduled to run through May. A verdict is expected in June.

Akilov is suspected of having direct contact with alleged IS militants from Tajikistan throughout the April attack, according to a joint investigation by RFE/RL's Uzbek and Tajik services and Swedish news agency TT.

However, neither IS nor any other group claimed responsibility.

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