Arrest warrant issued for brother of Manchester Arena bomber Ismail Abedi

Ismail Abedi

An arrest warrant has been issued for the brother of the Manchester Arena bomber after he failed to appear at the inquiry into the attack.

Ismail Abedi was convicted in his absence of failing show at the public inquiry he was ordered to give evidence at.

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

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

22 people died when Salman Abedi detonated a homemade bomb following an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena in 2017.

District Judge Jack McGarva found Salman Abedi's older brother was guilty of failing without reasonable excuse to do something required by a Section 21 notice, at a hearing on 14 July.

He faces up to 51 weeks in jail for the offence if he is captured or hands himself in.

Prosecutor Sophie Cartwright QC told the court that notification of Tuesday’s hearing had been sent to Abedi’s last known address.

An email was also sent to an address he had previously used to correspond with the solicitor to the inquiry as well as a message to his former solicitors, she said.

District Judge Jack McGarva said he was satisfied that Abedi was aware of the hearing and also noted that the proceedings had had a “great deal of publicity”.

Issuing a warrant without bail, he said: “We will now have to wait for him to be apprehended.”

Kim Harrison, a solicitor who represents 11 of the victims’ families, said:

“We welcome the arrest warrant that has been issued for Ismail Abedi today and expect all of the relevant authorities to do their utmost to ensure he has to answer the many questions we have about what happened that night."

"We remain gravely concerned as to why Abedi was able to leave the country before giving evidence to the Inquiry in the first place.

"His leaving the country should never have happened and despite the conviction he is unlikely to face any real justice until he is apprehended, if at all. "

"The families deserve to know the truth about what happened that night and the contempt Ismail Abedi has shown them is truly despicable."

"Now we expect the authorities to do everything in their power to bring Abedi to justice.”

Salman Abedi detonated a homemade bomb at a concert packed with young people

22 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.

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.

Abedi was also 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.

Ismail Abedi has denied any involvement with the Arena attack.

He previously said he did not want to attend the inquiry because he was worried about the risk of self-incrimination, had already been questioned at lengthy by the police, and was concerned for the safety of himself and his family.

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