Manchester Bombing inquest indefinitely delayed while ‘accomplice’ held in Libya

Hashem Abedi

Hashem Abedi still hasn’t been extradited from Tripoli

The inquests into the Manchester Arena bombing have been indefinitely delayed while an alleged accomplice rots in a Libyan jail.

Hashem Abedi, the younger brother of apparent bomber Salman, has reportedly been held in Libya since the May 2017 attack. So far the UK has been unable to secure his extradition.

Investigators have at different times claimed varying degrees of involvement from Hashem, making him a key element in understanding what happened that day. But for whatever reason, the Libyans are yet to complete their own ambiguous legal process. We must now wait until at least April 2020 for the inquests to proceed, which is the new placeholder date set by the coroner.

A Greater Manchester Police spokesperson said via Sky News: “Progress has been positive but the current conflict in the country has presented increased risks and challenges in relation to the extradition.”

Conflict in the country is largely down to the UK and allied government involvement in overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi, which ironically, is also when the Home Office permitted the likes of Salman, Hashem and other Libyans to travel to the region when many should have faced counter-terrorism control orders.

Families want answers

Much of what we know about the attack comes from investigators and those in intelligence circles talking to the media. But, as we’ve explored at WideShut there is no single coherent story that holds up, making a thorough inquest extremely important.

Some survivors and victim family members are understandably upset by the lack thereof.

Survivor Robby Potter told Sky News: “We have tried to be nice – we have got the best armed forces in the world, go and get him.”

Stephen Howe, whose wife Alison died in the concert blast, told ITV News:

“We would feel better if we knew where he was being held captive but they won’t answer that question. There’s a reason for that – I don’t think they know where he is. We’ve had no information whatsoever.”

Mr Howe walked out of a pre-inquest hearing in February, frustrated that questions aren’t being answered.

Pete Weatherby QC – who represents Mr Howe and the family of the youngest victim, Saffie-Rose Roussos, eight – told the hearing:

“All that I am asking is that 20 months after the outrage of the bombing the families ought to be presented with a greater level of factual detail about the process.

“The most updates the families have received has in fact come through the press.

“In essence what we seek, through the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Greater Manchester Police (GMP), is a greater amount of factual transparency.”

Elkan Abrahamson, another lawyer for the families, suggested the security services and other public bodies are dragging their feet:

“I cannot see why the public bodies involved cannot be honest about their failings and say what they have done wrong – subject to the possible public interest immunity issues – we understand the security service can’t be entirely open but they can say this is what we should have done and this is where we failed.

“They won’t say that – why not?”

Meanwhile, the status of the Abedi father Ramadan, who was last seen being detained in Libya, is completely unknown and nobody seems to be asking what happened to him.

Follow WideShut