Manchester Arena bomber's brother Ismail Abedi convicted over inquiry absence

The brother of the Manchester Arena bomber has been convicted in his absence of failing show at the public inquiry he was ordered to give evidence at.

Ismail Abedi, whose whereabouts are currently unknown, had refused to co-operate with the inquiry into the attack but was ordered by the Chairman to attend.

The 28-year-old, who is described as a "key witness", was supposed to appear at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on 14 July, but did not turn up.

Ismail Abedi was found guilty by District Judge Jack McGarva of failing without reasonable excuse to do something required by a Section 21 notice.

22 people died in the Manchester area terrorist attack.

Abedi fled the UK in 2021 and has not returned. He now uses the name Ben Romdhan.

Twenty two people were killed and hundreds injured when his brother, Salman Abedi, detonated a bomb at the end of an Ariana Grande concert on 22 May 2017.

Bereaved families labelled Ismail Abedi a “coward” for refusing to answer questions.

The judge said if he does not attend the next hearing on 2 August, a warrant will be issued for his arrest.

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

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

Ismail Abedi is said to have "significant" evidence to provide in the inquiry.

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

But District Judge McGarva found he had no reasonable excuse not to attend.

Abedi was stopped by police at Manchester Airport on 28 August 2021 and told them he was planning to return to the country the following month - but never did.

The IT worker was described as a key witness for the inquiry, able to answer questions about the radicalisation of his younger brothers, Salman and Hashem.

He also had potential evidence to give on the preparation of the bomb after his DNA was found on a hammer in a car used to store the explosives.

Hashem Abedi (left) and Salman Abedi.

Abedi was stopped in 2015 at Heathrow Airport with a phone that had a “significant” amount of “very disturbing” material described as of an “Islamic State-mindset” on it.

His father, Ramadan Abedi, was associated with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a militia that had links with terror organisation al Qaida, the public inquiry heard.

He lives in Libya, has also not co-operated with the inquiry, and police want to question him as a suspect.

Hashem Abedi, 24, was jailed for life for the 22 murders at the Arena by assisting with the bomb plot.

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