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Stockholm Attack Suspect Confesses to Committing ‘Terror’ Crime | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Policemen guard next to the court before the detention hearing of the suspect in the attack in Stockholm, Sweden. (Reuters)

Rakhmat Akilov, the suspect held in last week’s truck attack in Stockholm, admitted on Tuesday that he had committed a “terrorist crime.”

The 39-year-old Uzbek and extremist sympathizer mowed down pedestrians on a busy street, killing four people and injuring 15 others.

“Akilov confesses to a terrorist crime and accepts his custody detention,” his lawyer Johan Eriksson told a custody hearing in a Stockholm district court.

A Swedish court remanded Akilov, allowing police to detain him in prison.

Akilov, who was arrested in a Stockholm suburb just hours after Friday’s attack, appeared in the courthouse’s special heavily-guarded, high-security courtroom. Handcuffed and wearing a thick green hoodie over his head, he kept his head bowed down.

Judge Malou Lindblom ordered him to remove the hoodie and he complied, revealing dark hair with streaks of grey.

After Eriksson’s statement, the judge consented to the prosecution’s request to have the rest of the hearing held behind closed doors due to the classified nature of the information in the investigation.

The four people killed in the attack were two Swedes — one woman and an 11-year-old girl — a British man, and a Belgian woman.

Eight people were still in hospital, two of whom were in critical condition.

Akilov, a construction worker who had been refused permanent residency in Sweden in June 2016, had gone underground last year after receiving a deportation order, police said.

Friday’s attack resembled previous rampages using vehicles in Nice, Berlin and London, all of them claimed by the ISIS militant group.

ISIS has not claimed responsibility for the Stockholm attack, but Swedish media reports on Monday said Akilov had told investigators that he had received an “order” from the group to carry out the attack against “infidels”.

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

On Sunday, a second suspect — also from Uzbekistan according to media reports — was formally placed under arrest, Stockholm district court judge Helga Hullman told AFP, refusing to disclose any links between the two suspects.

A Swedish prosecutor later decided to revoke the arrest of second suspect.

Swedish politicians have meanwhile expressed anger over the failure by the authorities to deport the suspect, as police said around 12,000 people had absconded after being denied the right to stay.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, who led a nationwide minute of silence for the victims on Monday, said he was “frustrated” by the problem, while far-right Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson called it a “huge scandal”.

However, national police commissioner Dan Eliasson said “there was nothing in the system that indicated (the suspect) would do something like what he did on Friday”.

The country of 10 million people took in 244,000 asylum seekers in 2014 and 2015, the highest per capita in Europe.