Stockholm lorry attacker Rakhmat Akilov jailed for life

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An Uzbek man who carried out a lorry attack which killed five people in Sweden last year has been sentenced to life for terrorist crimes. Rakhmat Akilov, 40, had expressed sympathy for the Islamic State (IS) group before the attack in Stockholm. But prosecutors had to prove he intended to harm the state, as IS did not say it was behind the attack.

Akilov, a rejected asylum seeker, fled the scene but was quickly arrested and confessed during police interrogation. He left Uzbekistan for Sweden in 2014 and sought residency there, but in December 2016 he was told that he had four weeks to leave the country. He disappeared and, a few months before the attack, was put on an official wanted list.

On 7 April last year, Akilov hijacked a lorry and drove it at high speed down one of Stockholm’s busiest shopping streets and into a department store. Five people were killed and 10 more injured in the attack on Drottninggatan (Queen Street). Police discovered an explosive device inside the lorry which was made up of gas canisters and nails.

It did not explode properly and only caused fire damage to the vehicle. Akilov reportedly ran from the scene still covered in blood and glass, but was arrested hours later in a northern suburb of Stockholm. He quickly confessed during police interrogation.

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