Truck attack suspect admits to terror crime

Frederick Owens
April 21, 2017

A 39-year-old Uzbek man who has been held after Sweden's worst terrorist attack in decades intends to plead guilty, his lawyer said in court Tuesday.

Police have said it could take up to a year to complete the initial investigation into the attack.

Police say Akilov has expressed sympathies with extremist organisations. The attack resulted in two Swedes, a British man and a Belgian woman being killed and left fifteen injured. The others have not been publicly identified. Nine of the wounded are still in hospital, two are in critical condition.

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".

"We have a good relationship and we are working together in this case", Eriksson said on Tuesday. The Spendrups brewery truck had been stolen earlier in the day, the company said; witnesses said the driver didn't seem experienced behind the wheel of the truck. The government responded by tightening border controls and curtailing some immigrant rights. Ordered in December to leave the country, he went underground - one of an estimated 12,000 rejected asylum seekers who are on the run in the country. "He has provided information, he is answering questions", Eriksson said.

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"I think we have the same problem in all European countries", he said. "It is hard to return people to some countries [which] will not either accept the return of their own citizens or, if we return them by force, they will be subject maybe to punishment in those countries".

On Sunday, a second suspect - also from Uzbekistan, according to media reports - was arrested, although any link with Akilov has not been revealed.

The Uzbek reportedly applied for Swedish residency, was turned down previous year and was under a deportation order issued in December. However, this man would remain in custody due to an earlier decision that he be expelled from Sweden, the authority said.

Associated Press Writer Edith M. Lederer contributed from the United Nations in NY.

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