Today, Stockholm’s District Court announces the verdict against the terror charged Rakhmat Akilov. Over 100 plaintiffs, relatives and witnesses have been heard during the two-month trial, where every meter of the 1,063-meter-long crime scene, every second of Akilov’s truck journey, and every victim’s position and vulnerability have been dealt with.
He killed five people, injured ten seriously and exposed hundreds of people in danger of death when he ploughed through Drottninggatan on April 7 last year with a stolen truck as a weapon. People panicked, trains and subways were stopped, the telephone network went down, authorities went into crisis mode and several hospitals in disaster mode.
“A terrorist offense in its apparent form,” said Vice Chief Prosecutor Hans Ihrman in his final speech when the trial ended just over a month ago. Few may oppose it, but ultimately, it is the Stockholm District Court to decide if Hans Ihrman has succeeded in his prosecution and, if so, Rakhmat Akilov will be convicted for the terrorist offense he has been charged with.
The purpose, approach and recognition of Rakhmat Akilov is that he has been guilty of terrorist offenses, but the Crime Law puts higher demands than that. To be classified as a terrorist offense, the crime must also seriously harm a state, in this case Sweden.
According to the documents underlying the law, it is considered that the act should be a major strain on society, for example by causing serious disturbances in important societal functions, but also other essential public interests such as the safeguarding of the open and secure society.
But for Akilov’s defender, it is not clear that it is a terrorist offense in the opinion of the law.
“We can see that we reopened the tunnel, the telephone network and the train quite quickly, the hospitals were functioning and people could return to normal. There was, of course, fears but the question is whether those fears are sufficient to qualify as a terrorist offense,” said Akilov’s defender, lawyer Johan Eriksson, when the trial was concluded.