Rakhmat Akilov, a Tajik national of Uzbekistan who killed five people in a bomb attack in Stockholm on 7 April 2017, was sentenced to life imprisonment for terrorism on Thursday.
“The defendant was (…) convicted of murder in five cases,” the Stockholm court said in a statement. He was also found guilty of 119 cases of attempted murder.
During his trial, the 40-year-old said he was given the green light by representatives of the self-proclaimed “Islamic Caliphate” in Iraq and Syria to carry out a suicide operation in the Swedish capital. But the Islamic State (IS) organisation has never claimed the attack, which killed three Swedish women, including an 11-year-old girl, a Briton and a Belgian, and injured ten people.
The preliminary investigation had established that Rakhmat Akilov had acted alone, but that he had been in contact with several individuals claiming to be from IS, at the end of his process of radicalisation which started during a stay in Turkey in 2014.
Rakhmat Akilov had come to Sweden in 2014 to join his wife, with whom he has since separated. His request for asylum denied, the authorities had given him until 1 January 2017 to leave the territory. He had spent three months in hiding before stealing a truck on April 7 and driving it down Drottninggatan pedestrian street at a high speed, before crashing into the the front of a department store.
He was arrested a few hours later, in a service station in the north of the city, his leg burned by the homemade bomb that he tried, in vain, to detonate.
An average life term in Sweden is 16 years, while the longest term a person has served in the Nordic nation is 34 years.