Brother of Manchester Arena bomber denies 22 murder charges

He's the first person to face charges over the terrorist attack

Hashem Abedi, the brother of the suicide bomber responsible for the Manchester Arena tragedy in 2017, has appeared in court to face murder charges.

Following an Ariana Grande concert at the arena on May 22 2017, suicide bomber Salman Abedi blew himself up in the arena foyer, killing 22 people and injuring over 260 others.

Authorities believe that Hashem played a major role in planning the suicide bombing and have been seeking his extradition since 2017. Both Hashem and Salman had travelled to Libya – their parents’ homeland – in April 2017, before Salman returned to the UK to carry out the bombing alone.

Soon after the attack, Hashem was detained in Libya. He was extradited to the UK on Wednesday (July 17) and subsequently arrested. Greater Manchester Police were granted a warrant for his arrest in November 2017.

Scenes after the terror attack at an Ariana Grande gig at Manchester Arena
Scenes after the terror attack at an Ariana Grande gig at Manchester Arena

Hashem appeared in Westminster Magistrates Court yesterday (Thursday 18) where prosecutor Kathryn Selby charged him with 22 counts of murder and one of attempted murder relating to the injuries of over 260 people.

He also faces one count of conspiring to cause explosions. His lawyer, Zafar Ali, said his client denied the charges. Hashem spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and nationality during the 15 minute hearing. He was detained until a bail hearing on Monday (July 22).

In the hearing, Ali said that his client had been placed in solitary confinement whilst in a Special Deterrence Force in Tripoli. He alleged that Hashem had been tortured and forced to sign a confession under duress. Ali added that his client did not appeal the extradition because he wanted to return to the UK to clear his name.

Ariana Grande performs at the One Love Manchester concert

In April, Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham supported calls from the victims’ families to tighten security at concert venues. Figen Murray, mother of victim Martyn Hett, 29, is advocating for the introduction of ‘Martyn’s Law’, which would make metal detectors and bag searches mandatory at large public venues.

Speaking about the attack last year (November 30), Ariana Grande said it still “seems impossible to fully recover from”. The singer suffered from post traumatic stress disorder following the attack.