In this file photo, Rakhmat Akilov, who pleaded guilty to terrorism charges for an April 2017 Stockholm truck attack, stands in a courtroom on Feb. 14, 2018 at Stockholm dictrict court during his trial. (AFP/Fredrik Sandberg)
STOCKHOLM, June 7 (Xinhua) -- A Swedish court on Thursday sentenced Uzbek national Rakhmat Akilov to life imprisonment for "terrorist crimes" after he mowed down pedestrians on a busy shopping street in central Stockholm in April last year.
The Stockholm District Court found Akilov guilty of five murders, 119 attempted murders and 24 cases of endangering others. He will be deported from Sweden once his sentence is served and will be banned from ever returning to the country.
Akilov hijacked a truck outside a restaurant in Stockholm on April 7 last year and ran down pedestrians on the busy Drottninggatan street before crashing into a department store. Five people died and ten were injured in the attack.
Before stealing the truck, Akilov swore allegiance to the IS. He was arrested on the same day outside a gas station in a Stockholm suburb after he was recognized from a surveillance camera image.
Prosecutor Hans Ihrman urged the Stockholm District Court to issue the harshest punishment possible for what he labeled "perhaps the most severe crime ever committed in Sweden".
The district court judge Ragnar Palmkvist explains the verdict of convicted perpetrator, Uzbek Rakhmat Akilov, during a press conference at the District Court of Stockholm, June 7, 2018. (AFP/Anders IKLUND)
The court agreed with senior judge Ragnar Palmkvist, who noted at a press conference on Thursday, that "Rakhmat Akilov's sympathies for IS are beyond doubt. He has himself spoken of it on several occasions and it is also clear from material found on his mobile phone."
After his arrest, Akilov quickly admitted to being the driver of the truck and he also pleaded guilty to terrorism when the trial began in February. He expressed no remorse for his actions throughout the trial, during which he turned 40. He also denied being guilty of 18 attempted murder.
Life sentences in Sweden are usually commuted to a fixed term. An average life term in Sweden is 16 years.