In Depth

Hashem Abedi: brother of Manchester Arena bomber extradited to UK

Brother of Salman Abedi, who killed 22 concertgoers in Manchester, arrested on arrival

The brother of the man who killed 22 people in the Manchester Arena suicide bomb attack has been extradited to the UK and arrested upon arrival.

Police said Hashem Abedi, 22, was detained on suspicion of helping to plan the attack, which took place on 22 May 2017. He landed at a London airport escorted by officers on Wednesday, and is due at Westminster Magistrates court at an unspecified time.

“He has today been successfully extradited, for offences relating to the Manchester Arena attack,” Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said in a statement yesterday. Abedi has been charged with murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.

Hashem’s brother, Salman Abedi, was a British-born man of Libyan descent who had returned to the UK from Tripoli in May 2017. Within days he detonated a bomb strapped to his body as he stood in a crowd leaving an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena. Of the 22 who died, seven were children. According to the BBC, a “total of 112 needed hospital treatment after the attack”.

Salman had arrived on UK soil without any bomb-making materials. Experts who spoke to The Independent said that “the deadly device could easily have been constructed in the four days between Abedi returning from Libya and launching the attack”. Greater Manchester Police said he “made ‘core purchases’ himself”.

The New York Times provides a timeline of events, detailing that soon after the attack, Hashem and his father, Ramadan, were detained by the Special Deterrence Force, a Libyan militia aligned with the UN-recognised government in the capital.

Families of the victims, and those affected by the attack, were the first to be informed of his extradition and arrest yesterday. “The families have consistently been concerned about the security failings during the Manchester terror attack and they want any criminal proceedings against Hashem Abedi to conclude quickly and in time for the public inquiry next year,” said Elkan Abrahamson, a solicitor representing some of the families affected.

This early apprisal came after the victim’s families had made public their frustration with the lack of transparency in the case earlier this year. “We know that the extradition request was made in November 2017. What we ask through you to the CPS and police is a plea for a greater amount of factual transparency”, Pete Weatherby QC, a lawyer representing some of the families, said in February.

“Where is Hashem Abedi?” Weatherby asked. “Because of course, given the situation in Libya, that is a matter of concern to the families. Is he in detention and is he in the detention of the UN-backed government in Tripoli or some other force?”

It seems the families were right to be concerned. “The case had been held up by Libya's complicated political situation, with fighting breaking out between forces in the west of the country and militias in the east,” reports The Daily Telegraph.

Siddiq al Sour, a senior Libyan prosecutor, told Bloomberg on Wednesday that “a Libyan investigation determined that Hashem was the ‘planner’ of the attack claimed by Islamic State.” Bloomberg reports that “he was extradited in accordance with a treaty with Britain after a ruling by Libya’s court of appeal”, and that he was extradited because “‘he has a UK passport and committed the crime in the UK,’ outside Libya’s jurisdiction.”

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