Afghan Asylum Seeker Convicted of Swedish Knife Attacks, Sentenced to Life in Prison

A young Afghan asylum-seeker was found guilty of attempted murder Wednesday and sentenced to life for injuring seven people in Sweden in a knife attack earlier this year.

Police shot Tamin Sultani, 22, and arrested him after he went on a nearly 20-minute rampage on March 3. While investigators dismissed terrorism as a motive, they charged him with seven counts of attempted murder.

Sultani, who expressed wanting to return to Afghistan, will be deported after his sentence, the Eksjo District Court said.

The district court said Tamin Sultani used a kitchen knife from his apartment "because he was so upset" about something blasphemous done to his god and "wanted to kill that person."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, continue below:

Afghanistan
An Afghan asylum-seeker was sentenced to life after being found guilty of attempted murder for injuring seven people in Sweden in a knife attack in March. People walk past donkeys along a roadside in Kabul on Tuesday. SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images

Sultani attacked seven men with a 22-centimeter (8.7-inch) blade in the small town of Vetlanda, about 190 kilometers (118 miles) southeast of Goteborg, Sweden's second-largest city.

Three of the victims survived life-threatening injuries, two were seriously injured, two others were moderately injured and one individual was slightly hurt. Police initially said the attacker used an ax but it later turned out that Sultani was armed with a knife.

"Nothing has emerged that Tamim Sultani in advance had any plan to injure or attempt to kill the seven plaintiffs in the case," the court said, adding he didn't know the people he attacked.

However, the district court found there was "a concrete danger" that those attacked would die and that Sultani "in all cases had directed violence against people's vital organs."

The court said "it appears that he had avoided some schoolgirls" he met, noting Sultani had told that he understood the teenage girls laughed at him but "would be afraid of the knife, so he hid it" in his sleeve.

Sultani sought asylum in Sweden in 2016. During the trial, he said he hadn't managed to get a job and only managed to work in various internships. When his temporary residence permit expired, he was no longer allowed to study or work.

Sultani claimed he twice attempted to commit suicide a week before the knife attacks,

"It was as if the brain had stopped working. I felt very bad mentally," he told the court. A court-ordered psychiatric evaluation concluded the man wasn't mentally disturbed at the time of the attack and was fit for a prison sentence.

During the trial in a high-security courtroom, he confessed to three of the attacks and said he doesn't remember the other four attacks but believes the victims' accounts.

In November 2020, he had applied for a renewal of his temporary staying permit and the immigration authorities haven't yet taken a decision.