Manchester Arena bomber's brother convicted

Ismaill Abedi fled the country and avoided giving evidence at a public inquiry

The judge said Ismail Abedi could have given evidence on 'some really key points that the families of the deceased'.
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The brother of the Manchester Arena bomber has been convicted after fleeing the country and failing to give evidence before a public inquiry investigating the attack.

District Judge Jack McGarva said he was considering a jail sentence when he found Ismail Abedi guilty of failing without reasonable excuse to do something required by a public inquiry order.

Abedi, 28, had been ordered by inquiry chairman Sir John Saunders to attend and give evidence, but he has refused to co-operate.

"The court is bound to consider passing a custodial sentence,” Mr McGarva said. "There is a very high level of public interest in ensuring people co-operate with public inquiries."

He said Abedi could have given evidence on "some really key points that the families of the deceased would have really appreciated having answers to".

Manchester Magistrates' Court heard that Abedi had previously said he did not want to answer the inquiry's questions because he was concerned about a risk of self-incrimination, had already been questioned by police, and was concerned for his safety and that of his family.

He was described as a key witness for the inquiry, able to answer questions about the radicalisation of his younger brothers, Salman, who carried out the suicide attack which killed 22 people on May 22, 2017, and Hashem, who has been jailed for his part in the bomb plot.

The court heard Abedi was stopped by police at Manchester Airport on August 28 last year where he told them he was planning to return to the country the following month. He left the country the next day and is not believed to have returned.

Nicholas de la Poer QC, prosecuting, said: "The prosecution submits that you can be sure from the chronology that the defendant from the first was determined not to co-operate with the inquiry.

"He has prevaricated, he has obfuscated, he has thrown up every obstacle he could think of. When those failed, he fled the jurisdiction.

"In the end it comes down to this: he was lawfully required to attend, he did not attend and there is no good reason for him not attending."

The judge adjourned the case to August 2 and said if Abedi does not attend that hearing a warrant will be issued for his arrest.

Updated: July 14, 2022, 12:50 PM