Stockholm attack suspect Rakhmat Akilov admits terrorist crime

A woman lights a candle to commemorate the victims of the terror attack at a makeshift memorial near the site in Stockholm. Photograph: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images

Lawyer tells court his Uzbek client, wearing thick green hoodie and holding his head down, accepts he will be detained

The main suspect in the truck attack in Stockholm that killed four and injured 15 has admitted committing a terrorist crime, his lawyer has said.

Johan Eriksson, a lawyer for Rakhmat Akilov, 39, told a heavily guarded custody hearing at Stockholm district court: “His position is that he admits to a terrorist crime and accepts therefore that he will be detained.”

Akilov, from Uzbekistan, appeared in court wearing a thick green hoodie and holding his head down. After Eriksson’s statement, the rest of the hearing was held behind closed doors at the request of the public prosecutor’s office and journalists were told to wait outside.

On Monday, Akilov had demanded that his state-appointed lawyer be replaced with a Sunni Muslim – a request that was refused.

A Briton and an 11-year-old girl were among those killed when a truck mowed down pedestrians in a busy shopping district in the Swedish capital on Friday.

Akilov, a construction worker, was arrested in Marsta, a suburb north of Stockholm, several hours after the attack.

Police said on Sunday that they had been searching for Akilov, who was arrested on “reasonable suspicion of terrorist homicide”, since February.

In 2014 he applied for a residence permit in Sweden, but last summer the application was rejected and he faced expulsion. In February, police were instructed to carry out the deportation, but he had disappeared.

On 24 February, police put out a description of the man, whose case was one of 10,000 being processed for deportation at the time. His application was handled “in accordance with normal procedures”, police told a press conference.

“If we do not know where they are, we cannot enforce the expulsion,” the national police commander, Jonas Hysing, said.

The Swedish prime minister, Stefan Löfven, told a conference of the ruling Social Democratic party on Sunday: “It makes me extremely frustrated – if you have been turned down, leave the country.”

A further arrest was made in Sollentuna, a northern suburb of Stockholm, on Sunday morning. More than 500 people had been interviewed, police said, adding that the main suspect had allegedly expressed sympathy for jihadi organisations.

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