Sweden may beef up anti-terror laws
Stockholm's killer got order by IS to 'mow down the infidels'
13 April, 2017
Sweden is slowly healing the wounds of the terrorist attack in Stockholm on 7 April amid criticism of opposition to the authorities and calls for legislative changes. Meanwhile last Tuesday, Rakhmat Akilov, a 39-year-old Uzbek and jihadist sympathiser who was suspected of driving his truck over pedestrians on a busy street in the Sweden capital, killing four people and injuring 15 others, admitted in court he committed a “terrorist crime”.
Akilov was arrested in a Stockholm suburb just hours after the deadly attack. He faced a heavy guarded Stockholm District Court on 11 April, but the hearing was held behind closed doors due to the classified nature of the information in the investigation. Court documents seen by AFP showed Akilov, who is facing a lengthy prison sentence, had requested that his state-appointed lawyer Johan Eriksson be replaced by a Sunni Muslim, saying “only a lawyer of this faith could assert his interests in the best way.” The court refused the request. Akilov, a construction worker who was refused permanent residency in Sweden in June 2016, went underground last year after receiving a deportation order, police said.
The truck attack resembled previous rampages using vehicles in Nice, Berlin and London, which were all claimed by the Islamic State. IS has not claimed responsibility for the Stockholm attack, but Swedish media reports said Akilov had told investigators that he had received an "order" from IS to carry out the attack against 'infidels'. The Aftonbladet newspaper reported that he had said he was “pleased with what he had done”. “I mowed down the infidels,” Aftonbladet quoted him as saying, citing sources close to the investigation. “The bombings in Syria have to end,” he was quoted as saying.
Justice Minister Morgan Johansson told AFP he wants to beef up Sweden's anti-terror laws, as Swedish politicians have meanwhile expressed anger over the authorities' failure to deport the suspect. Swedish PM 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”.
Intelligence agency Sapo has said that Akilov had appeared on their radar last year for undisclosed reasons, but national police commissioner Dan Eliasson said “there was nothing in the system that indicated the suspect would do something like what he did.”
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 last week, including two in a critical condition.