Arena bomber’s brother arrested for murder

Image copyright Libyan Interior Ministry
Image caption Hashem Abedi was arrested in Tripoli by members of the Rada Special Deterrence Force a day after the attack

The younger brother of Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi is to appear in court charged with murdering the 22 victims of the attack, police say.

Hashem Abedi, 22, was detained in Libya shortly after the May 2017 suicide bombing in which hundreds were injured.

He was extradited earlier, and arrested by British officers upon his arrival in the UK, Greater Manchester Police said.

Mr Abedi will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, the force said.

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Police said prosecutors had authorised them to bring charges against Mr Abedi in respect of:

  • The murder of the 22 victims
  • The attempted murder of persons other than the 22 deceased
  • Conspiracy to cause an explosion likely to endanger life

Libyan authorities handed Mr Abedi over to British police officers, who escorted him on a flight which left Mitiga Airport, near Tripoli, at 10:30 BST.

The university engineering student, who was born in Manchester, was transferred to a police station in London upon his arrival in the UK.

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Families of the victims and survivors were the first to be informed of the developments, police said.

Image caption Top (left to right): Lisa Lees, Alison Howe, Georgina Callender, Kelly Brewster, John Atkinson, Jane Tweddle, Marcin Klis – Middle (left to right): Angelika Klis, Courtney Boyle, Saffie Roussos, Olivia Campbell-Hardy, Martyn Hett, Michelle Kiss, Philip Tron, Elaine McIver – Bottom (left to right): Eilidh MacLeod, Wendy Fawell, Chloe Rutherford, Liam Allen-Curry, Sorrell Leczkowski, Megan Hurley, Nell Jones

Both brothers travelled to Libya in April 2017, before Salman Abedi returned alone to carry out the attack on 22 May.

Twenty-two people died in the bombing while a total of 112 needed hospital treatment after the attack.

GMP was granted a warrant for Mr Abedi’s arrest in November 2017.

A Libyan court had previously agreed to extradite Mr Abedi to the UK because he is a British citizen but the extradition process was delayed by fighting in Libya.

Image caption Hashem Abedi was transferred to a police station in London upon his arrival in the UK

This has meant the inquests into the deaths of the 22 victims were delayed, with family members told that the full hearings were not likely to begin until April 2020 at the earliest.

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No-one has previously been charged over the Manchester Arena attack despite police raids after the bombing.

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

Image caption About 14,000 people were at the Manchester Arena for a concert when Salman Abedi, pictured, detonated a device

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said it was “right and proper” that those affected by the “appalling” attack will be able “to see a judicial process on British soil”.

“Today is an important day in the recovery process for our city,” he added.

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