Bomber’s brother in court after Libya extradition

The younger brother of Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi has appeared in court and charged with murdering the 22 victims of the attack.

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

The 22-year-old was extradited on Wednesday and arrested by British officers upon his arrival in the UK.

Mr Abedi, of no fixed address, was remanded in custody after appearing before Westminster magistrates.

He is due to next appear at Oxford Crown Court on July 22 for a bail hearing, and a preliminary hearing is scheduled to take place at the Old Bailey on July 30.

Mr Abedi, who was born and raised in Manchester, is also charged with one count of attempted murder, encompassing all the other victims, and one count of conspiring with his brother Salman Abedi to cause explosions.

Prosecutors allege Hashem Abedi made detonator tubes for the bomb, bought chemicals used to make an explosive substance, and helped his brother to buy a car in which materials were stored that became part of the device.

Zafar Ali QC, defending, said following his client’s arrest on 23 May, 2017 by a Libyan militia, he was held in solitary confinement.

He indicated Mr Abedi would be pleading not guilty to all counts.

The names of the 22 people who died in the explosion at the end of an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena were read out in court when the charges were put to Mr Abedi.

Ten of those who died were aged under 20, with the youngest victim – Saffie Roussos – only eight years old.

The inquests into the killings have been delayed due to legal proceedings. Family members have been told the full inquest hearings are not likely to begin until April 2020 at the earliest.

The court heard 260 people were seriously injured in the arena attack, including those with life-changing injuries.

At least 600 people reported psychological harm, the court was told. –BBC

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