Hashem Abedi

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Born1997

Hashem al-Abedi is the youngest son of Ramadan al-Abedi and was arrested in Libya shortly after his older brother, Salman al-Abedi, was killed in the Manchester Arena on 22 May 2017.

On 5 June 2017, three days before the UK/2017 General Election, David Cameron’s former policy adviser Steve Hilton tweeted:[1]

"Theresa May responsible for security failures of London Bridge, Manchester, Westminster Bridge. Should be resigning not seeking re-election."[2]

Arrest warrant

On Wednesday 1 November 2017, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said that counter-terrorism officers had been granted a warrant for Hashem Abedi’s arrest and that the Libyan authorities had been asked on Wednesday to consider his extradition to the UK.[3]

The GMP believe they have enough evidence to charge him with the murder of 22 people, the attempted murder of others who were injured and conspiracy to cause an explosion. Detectives know that the two brothers travelled together to Libya from the UK in April 2017, with Hashem remaining in Libya, the country of their parents’ birth. At the end of April, 22-year-old Salman returned to Manchester to carry out the atrocity at the end of an Ariana Grande concert, buying the components in local stores and assembling his bomb in a rented city centre flat.

Both brothers were born in Manchester and went to school in the city.[4]

Held in Libya

Hashem Abedi was initially held by the Special Deterrence Force (RADA), a militia group in Libya with links to Islamic extremist Abdelhakim Belhadj.[5]

Briefing journalists in Manchester on Wednesday, GMP assistant chief constable Russ Jackson said his detectives had not had any contact with RADA but that he knew where Hashem was being detained.

The extradition request had been made to the “internationally recognised” government in Tripoli, he added.

Russ Jackson admitted he did not know of any recent successful extraditions to the UK from Libya but said he was grateful to the Libyans for considering the request to allow Hashem to return to his native Britain to stand trial.

No request has been made to extradite the Abedi brothers’ father, who was reportedly arrested shortly after Hashem. Ramadan Abedi was being interviewed by a TV crew in Tripoli when he was taken by masked gunmen, eyewitnesses said in May.

If the Libyans agree to send Hashem home to the UK, he will be taken into custody as soon as he lands on British soil and will likely be immediately charged. He will then be sent to a magistrates court and then a Crown Court to stand trial.

Jackson said that the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, had agreed to the extradition request being made. A judge at Westminster Magistrates' Court granted the warrant around two weeks ago and on Wednesday it was passed to the Libyan government via “diplomatic channels”, he said.[6]

Extradited to UK

In November 2017, an extradition request was made to the Libyan authorities for Hashem Abedi to return to the UK to face trial for mass murder.[7] In July 2019, he was extradited from Libya and appeared in court in London.[8]

On 17 July 2019, Hashem Abedi was extradited from Libya and arrested by British officers upon his arrival in the UK.[9] He appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 18 July 2019 when his counsel, Zafar Ali QC, said the defendant denied all the charges against him.

Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot remanded Hashem Abedi in custody ahead of a bail hearing at Oxford Crown Court on Monday 22 July 2019. A preliminary trial hearing is scheduled to take place at the Old Bailey on 30 July 2019.[10]

Trial

On 27 January 2020, Hashem Abedi went on trial at the Old Bailey accused of murdering 22 people and one count of attempted murder encompassing the 260 other victims injured in the terror attack carried out by his older brother. Represented by Stephen Kamlish QC he denied any involvement in the attack.[11]

Opening for the prosecution Duncan Penny QC told the court that Hashem Abedi is “just as responsible” for the 2017 Manchester bombing as his brother, because of his assistance in building the device. He said Abedi had contacted several friends, relatives and acquaintances in efforts to buy quantities of sulphuric acid, which is a key component of triacetone triperoxide (TATP) - an explosive that was also used in the Paris attacks in 2015. The court heard that Abedi had already obtained five litres of acid, and later contacted a friend who ordered 10 litres at a cost of £140. Mr Penny said there was also a “direct connection” between the defendant and the first order of hydrogen peroxide - another bomb component.

The hearing was adjourned shortly after midday on 5 February when Abedi’s defence lawyers informed the court that he was “in pain” and feeling too unwell to remain in court. Judge Jeremy Baker told the jury:

“It is important that Mr Abedi is able to concentrate on the opening by Mr Penny and for that reason I’ve arranged for some inquiry to be made about his condition, to ensure that if he needs any medical intervention he receives it promptly.”[12]

On 17 March 2020, a jury convicted Hashem Abedi, 22, after less than five hours of deliberation at the end of a seven week trial at the Old Bailey in London. The panel of three women and eight men found Abedi guilty of 22 counts of murder; one count of attempted murder concerning those who were injured but survived the blast; and conspiring with his brother to cause an explosion.

Hashem Abedi now faces life in prison.[13]

 

Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Manchester atrocity: UK government must come clean about its relationship with Libyan IslamistsArticle6 June 2017Mohamed El-DoufaniThe perpetrator of the Manchester atrocity, British-born Libyan Salman al-Abedi, 22, is largely the product of the policy pursued by successive British governments – Conservative and Labour – towards Libya.


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