Friday, 22 November, 2019

Arena bomber's brother faces London court

Many of the victims of the suicide attack were teenage fans of Ariana Grande Ariana Grande concert bomber's brother extradited to the UK
Patty Aguilar | 18 July, 2019, 20:25

Court artist sketch of Hashem Abedi in the dock at Westminster Magistrates' Court where he is appearing following his extradition from Libya, in London, Thursday July 18, 2019.

The brother of the Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi has denied any involvement in the attack, a court has heard.

In the 2017 Manchester concert attack, 22 people were killed and hundreds of others wounded when Salman blew himself up. Targets in London included Westminster Bridge, London Bridge, and a north London mosque.

Ahmed Ben Salem of the Special Deterrence Force (Radaa), an armed group that serves as the capital's police, said he was being extradited in line with a decision of the Libyan judiciary following a request from Britain.

"I confirm to you that Hashem is now in the air on his way to the United Kingdom. he is extradited in accordance with a court verdict", said a spokesperson for Rada, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the case.

His brother Salman Abedi blew himself up at the end of a show by US singer Ariana Grande at the Manchester Arena, killing 22 people and injuring more than 500.

On Wednesday, Abedi was flown to the United Kingdom, escorted by British police officers.

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The extradition of Hashem means a long-delayed inquest can proceed and opens the way for a criminal trial that may shed light on how the plot was executed.

The Interior Minister's office in Tripoli confirmed Hashem Abedi was extradited on a flight which left Mitiga Airport at 10:30 BST, having turned him over to representatives of the British Embassy.

Manchester police notified the victims' families earlier Wednesday that the long-awaited extradition was in process.

A 2018 report said 23 people arrested in the United Kingdom were all released without charge.

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.

The two brothers were both born in Britain to Libyan parents who had fled Muammar Gaddafi's regime but returned to their native county in 2011 after he was overthrown.

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