Stockholm terror attack: prosecutor releases 9 000-page preliminary investigation
Terror suspect Rahkmat Akilov is charged with killing five while driving a lorry on a busy pedestrian street – took pictures from inside the cab
Uzbek citizen Rahkmat Akilov has been charged with crimes of terror.
According to the prosecution Akilov killed five when driving a lorry through the busy pedestrian street of Drottninggatan in Stockholm in April 2017 and also igniting explosives inside the cab.
Akilov is charged as the lone suspect – but was in contact with someone sending them pictures from inside the lorry.
”My goal is that he never again will be able to move freely in our society”, prosecutor Hans Ihrman says during a press conference.
Uzbek citizen Rahkmat Akilov has been charged with crimes of terror.
The Swedish prosecutor calls for Akilov to be sentenced to imprisonment for life. The prosecutor also calls for Akilov to then be deported from Sweden and be banned from ever returning.
Almost ten months after a lorry drove through central Stockholm killing 5, the prosecutor have finished their investigation, today presenting a case against terrorist suspect, 39-year-old Akilov.
9 000 pages of investigation
According to Swedish legislation a suspect is never formally charged until just ahead of the trial, when the prosecutor releases the preliminary investigation, this time consisting of 9 000 pages of material.
Since being arrested, five hours after the terror attack on the busy pedestrian street of Drottninggatan in central Stockholm, suspect Akilov has been held in custody. During interrogations he has admitted to hijacking and driving the lorry that killed five pedestrians.
Rahkmat Akilov is charged as the lone suspect for the terror act in Stockholm last April, but according to the prosecutor he was in contact with someone while he was driving the lorry, sending pictures from inside the cab.
Akilov also took photos from inside the airport express train which he used to escape from the crime scene. These photos were sent to the same person who recieved the pictures from inside the lorry.
Googled for gay clubs and tourist spots
According to the preliminary investigation Akilov had been planning the terror act for months, researching possible targets, such as ferry lines in the Stockholm archipelago popular with tourists. He also made google searches for ”gay club” and ”gay club Stockholm” aswell as searches for substances that can be used for manufacturing of explosives, as sulfuric acid, electrolyte and acetone.
Among Akilov’s internet searches there are also google translate searches for phrases as ”get out of the car”, ”jump out of the car unless you want to die” and ”get out of the car if you don’t want to die”.
The investigation has also uncovered two videos where Akilov swears his allegiance to the terror sect IS, sometimes known as Isis.
According to the prosecution Rahkmat Akilov has deliberately killed five people while driving the lorry. He is also accused of igniting an explosion inside the vehicle. The explosion was caused by a bomb consisting of five canisters of butane gas, screws, knife blades and other smaller metall objects. The explosion caused major damages inside the vehicle.
The reason for the terror act is, according to the prosecutor, that Akilov wanted to force the Swedish government to end participation in the global fight against the terror sect IS.
During the investigation the police has seized several items belonging to Akilov. Among them a make shift balaclava, consisting of a hood with cut out holes for the eyes.
Chatted about ”running over unfaithfuls”
In the preliminary investigation the prosecutor has detailed several internet chat conversations between Akilov and others where the suspected terrorist has stated that he wanted to join the terror sect IS and perform acts of terror.
In a conversation with one person Akilov is accused of having stated that he wanted to ”run over unfaithfuls”. With another person Akilov is supposed to have said that he wanted to commit an act of terror on May 1st. With a third person Akilov is supposed to have discussed committing a ”martyr operation” in Sweden.
During a press conference following the release of the prosecution, head of operations at the Swedish Security Service (SÄPO) Johan Olsson said that their conclusion is that the persons Akilov has been in contact with have been located outside of Sweden. How ever Olsson declined to answer which countruies they were situated in. None of these persons have been detained.
”We had no knowledge about the attack prior to the event”, said Olsson.
Prosecutor: Akilov will be heard during trial
Swedish police specifies a total of 155 plaintiffs, five of them dead, 15 badly injured. The crime scene is described as being 1063 meter long.
During the press conference the prosecuter stated that Akilov is expected to be heard during his trial. Bomb experts is also expected to testify about what damage the explosives in the lorry could have caused, had it not malfunctioned.
According to prosecutor Hans Ihrman it is highly likely that Akilov chose to commit the terror act on a Friday deliberately.
”The choice of day is most likely deliberate” said prosecutor Ihrman. ”He had previously been scouting areas in Stockholm specifically on Fridays. He has shown interest in certain places, days and times.”
According to Ihrman Akilov has been co-operating during interrogations: ”He has explaned his motives”, said Ihrman.
During the press conference the prosecutor also stated: ”My goal is that he never again will be able to move freely in our society.”
”Akilov didn’t expect to survive”
Head of the police investigation Christer Nilsson tells Aftonbladet in an exlusive interview that Akilov didn’t expect to survive the act, but had planned to die in the explosion in the lorry. But when the bomb at least partly malfunctioned the suspect descied to flee to crime scene: ”Akilov didn’t expect to survive”, says Nilsson.
The police cheif continued about Akilovs behaviour during interrogations: ”He hasn’t expressed any remorse. But no pride either.”
According to prosecutor Ihrman the suspect Rahkmat Akilov immediately confessed to the crime as he was apprehended by the police. The prosecutor specifies Akilov’s exact words as: ”I’m the one who drove the lorry”.
Akilov’s attorney: ”He has confessed”
Rahkmat Akilovs attorneys Johan Eriksson and Robin Söder Tuesday held a separate press conference commenting on the prosecution.
According to Eriksson his client has been put under contant surveillance since his arrest in April last year. Akilov has been watched every second, of every hour since he was apprehanded. ”It is very gruelling and it has effected his psyche”, says Eriksson about his client’s confinement.
Eriksson says that his client has confessed to the crimes: ”He has confessed to acts of terror consisting of five murders” the attorney stated during the press conference. ”And also attempted terror crimes against a large amount of people. He says that he drove the vehicle that finally crashed into the Åhléns department store.”
Investigators had Akilov return to the crime scene
But Akilov opposes a life sentence and wants his punishment to be a set amount of time in prison. If convicted Akilov will accept deportation after serving out his sentence, according to his defense attorney.
Since being apprehended by the police Akilov has not been allowed any contact with his family or friends. The only people Rahkmat Akilov has been allowed to see are the police investigators and his attorneys, according to Eriksson.
However Rakhmat Akilov has been returned to Drottninggatan during the police investigation to be questioned at the crime scene. All heavily guarded by the police. Police chief Christoffer Nilsson declines to specify the time for this but tells Aftonbladet: ”It was not shortly after the attack”.
Akilovs attorney Johan Eriksson told the press that the bomb in the lorry failed to explode, but rather caught fire.
”He counted on being killed, but I will leave the question if he wanted to die for himself to answer”, says defense attorney Johan Eriksson of his client.
The trial is scheduled to start February 13th and expected to end May 9th. Rakhmat Akilov is not scheduled to be heard in court until May 2nd.