UK thanks Libya’s Serraj for extradition of Manchester bomber’s brother
The 22-year-old is currently awaiting trial in Britain on charges of mass murder
UK prime minister Boris Johnson has thanked the head of Libya’s Tripoli-based government of national accord for the extradition of the Manchester Arena bomber’s brother Salman Abedi.
Mr Johnson, who became British prime minister one month ago, expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj for Libyan authorities work to secure the extraction of Hashem Abedi in July.
The 22-year-old is currently awaiting trial in Britain on charges of mass murder relating to his brother, Salman Abedi’s May 2017 terror attack on an Ariane Grande concert in Manchester. Twenty-two people were injured in ISIS-inspired suicide bombing and 260 injured.
“The two leaders discussed the ongoing conflict in Libya and the Prime Minister reiterated the importance of all sides committing to a ceasefire and the need to return to political dialogue,” a 10 Downing Street statement explained.
Hashem Abedi was spirited out of western Libya in July in a clandestine extraction by British special forces that was the culmination of two years of fraught negotiations.
Mr Abedi’s, whose family returned to Libya during the 2011 uprisings against 40-year leader Muammar al-Qaddafi, was arrested by Tripoli’s Special Deterrent Forces in 2017.
The Tripoli militia, known locally as Rada, is aligned with Mr Serraj’s UN-backed government. In July, the British press reported Mr Abedi’s release had been secured by in exchange for the UK’s continued support for the government in Tripoli.
Since April, the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, has been fighting to take control of the capital. Mr Haftar’s offensive has posed an existential threat to Serraj’s government.
Mr Abedi’s trial is set to begin at the Old Bailey in London on 5 November. He is accused of 22 counts of murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.
At the end of July, Mr Abedi appeared for a hearing at Oxford crown court via HMP Belmarsh. At an earlier hearing in London, which lasted no more than 15 minutes, the 22-year-old appeared briefly to confirm his name, age and nationality.
His barrister, Zafar Ali QC, has said his client denied the charges against him. British police have said they believe Mr Abedi helped his brother to buy the materials used to make the explosive device used in the Manchester attack.
Updated: August 15, 2019 09:07 PM