Rakhmat Akilov, the failed asylum seeker currently on trial for killing five and injuring 14 others in the Stockholm terror attack, allegedly expressed Islamic State sympathies well before the incident, according to a witness.
The Stockholm court heard a Muslim male, identified only by his first name Darius, claims that he met Akilov in March of 2016 at a Swedish language course and had accompanied him several times to a local mosque.
Darius told the court that around a year before the attack, Akilov confided to him that the Islamic State terror group was a “big hope” for Muslims, Swedish broadcaster SVT reports.
“He said the Islamic State is a big hope for all Muslims. And he said we must join Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. I said, ‘For what reason? He is self-proclaimed, he is not entitled to proclaim himself to Caliph, no writer has acknowledged him. And above all, he calls for violence,'” Darius said.
Akilov was denied asylum by the Swedish migration authority and was told he would be deported in December of 2016.
Darius, who was still in contact with Akilov at the time, said: “Inside, he was like a lost person. He gave me that impression. After I was told that he had begun taking drugs. I stopped caring for him. Especially when he began to express such reactionary thoughts about terror.”
When the news of the terror attack in Stockholm’s Drottninggatan shopping district broke on April 7th, 2017, Darius said he first thought of Akilov. “It’s too bad that I did not understand him then. Then I would have done something to prevent him, so he would not have done this,” he said.
Stockholm Attack Terror Trial of Uzbek Migrant Who Killed Five with Truck Opens https://t.co/r0e6svCS76
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During that time, Akilov had reportedly been working as a cleaner at the Scandic Park, at Östermalm in Stockholm. But a new report claims that a different migrant, who lacked papers, had adopted the identity of Akilov and the employer had failed to check into his background.
The trial against Akilov hs been ongoing since February and this week saw the parents of the youngest victim of the terror attack, 11-year-old Ebba Akerlund, testify and confront the Islamic radical with the immense loss of their daughter.
While initially many were hesitant to claim a radical Islamic motive for the attack, it became clear after police confirmed the authenticity of text messages Akilov had sent from the encrypted messaging app Telegram to Islamic State members prior to the attack.
Akilov had written to one of the administrators of a known Islamic State channel saying: “My master I am in Sweden, I do not have any actions, the gay parade will take place here on May 1st, if I get someone who can coordinate, I’ll do a martyring here, if God wants.”