Stockholm truck attack suspect pleads guilty to terrorism at trial

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An Uzbek asylum seeker has pleaded guilty to charges of terrorism for a truck attack that killed five people in Stockholm last year. As the trial of the attack's only suspect opened, defense lawyer Johan Eriksson told the court the motive of the attack "was to instigate fear and to get Sweden to end its participation in the coalition against the Islamic State (IS)."

Deputy Chief Prosecutor Hans Ihrman told the Stockholm District Court that many of the victims sustained permanent injuries such as brain damage and hearing impairments, and spoke of legs being amputated. Ihrman said he wanted the suspect, 39-year-old Rakhmat A, to be deported from Sweden after serving any sentence handed down.

Prosecutors are seeking a life sentence for the accused attacker, who arrived at the court wearing a green fleece sweater.

Pre-attack planning

The charge sheet states the suspect wanted to "create fear in the population" and accuses him of planning the attack, stating he visited several locations in central Stockholm in advance of the assault. He is also charged with subjecting 150 other people to the risk of death or serious injury.

The 39-year-old suspect had previously admitted to carrying out the fatal attack and had been remanded in pre-trial detention since the incident.

The attack

A hijacked beer truck rammed into the upscale Ahlens department store on the busy Drottninggatan street, a major pedestrianized shopping area in the center of the city and above the city's main railway station.

A spokeswoman for transport company Spendrups told the French news agency AFP that the truck "had been stolen during a delivery to a restaurant."

The area was cordoned off and large numbers of police and emergency services were at the scene. All subway traffic was also closed down in the city and the parliament was put on lockdown.

kp/rc (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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