Brother of Manchester suicide bomber found guilty of murder

LONDON • The brother of the bomber who blew himself up at the end of an Ariana Grande concert in the English city of Manchester nearly three years ago was found guilty on Tuesday of murdering the 22 victims.

Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old Briton born to Libyan parents, detonated his bomb at Manchester Arena as parents arrived to pick up their children at the end of a show by the American pop singer in May 2017.

Among the dead were seven children, the youngest aged eight, while 237 people were injured and 670 survivors reported suffering from psychological trauma.

Prosecutors had said his younger brother Hashem Abedi, now 22, was just as guilty of the murders by helping his sibling carry out the attack.

"Hashem Abedi encouraged and helped his brother, knowing that Salman Abedi planned to commit an atrocity. He has blood on his hands even if he didn't detonate the bomb," Mr Max Hill, Britain's director of public prosecutions, said in a statement.

London's Old Bailey court was told Hashem Abedi helped his brother get the components of the homemade bomb and that, together, they experimented with its construction, buying screws and nails to be used as shrapnel.

They stored and made the device at a separate address in Manchester and, shortly before they returned to Libya in mid-April 2017, they bought a car to store the bomb-making equipment.

Hashem Abedi was in Libya when the attack took place and became the first suspect to be successfully extradited to Britain in July last year.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) said it was responsible for the attack in the immediate aftermath of the bombing, but security services have treated that claim with scepticism.

In 2018, British lawmakers concluded that the MI5 security service had missed potential opportunities to prevent the bombing.

The Abedi family emigrated to Britain during the rule of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, later moving from London to south Manchester.

Hashem Abedi was born in Manchester and the brothers' parents returned to Libya after Gaddafi was toppled in 2011.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 19, 2020, with the headline 'Brother of Manchester suicide bomber found guilty of murder'. Print Edition | Subscribe