Brother of Manchester bomber to deny murdering 22 victims of arena terror attack
Hashem Abedi was remanded in custody at a court in London after being extradited from Libya
The brother of Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi has indicated he will deny helping him to murder 22 people in the 2017 terror attack.
Hashem Abedi, 22, stood impassively in the dock at Westminster Magistrates’ Court as the names of each fatality were read aloud.
His counsel, Zafar Ali QC, said the defendant denied the charges against him. No formal pleas were entered during the 15-minute hearing.
Abedi, who was raised in Manchester, fled to Libya before his older brother detonated his suicide vest as pop fans left an Ariana Grande concert.
It is alleged that Abedi made both successful and unsuccessful attempts to buy bomb-making chemicals, that he assisted in buying a Nissan Micra to store device components, and that he made detonator tubes for use in the explosive.
Prosecutor Kathryn Selby told the court that Abedi had been charged with 22 counts of murder – one for each victim of the attack – plus one count of attempted murder encompassing all other victims, and one count of conspiring with his brother to cause explosions.
The court heard that 260 people were seriously injured, including those with life-changing injuries, following the blast.
At least 600 people reported psychological harm, the court was told.
Abedi, who was wearing a grey tracksuit and glasses, and was flanked by two police officers and three security guards, looked at the prosecutor as she outlined the case.
Mr Ali told the court that his client had been in solitary confinement since his arrest in Libya two years ago, and had been tortured by the Special Deterrence Force in Tripoli, also known as Rada.
He said Abedi was forced to sign a 40-page confession under extreme duress.
He added that his client did not contest extradition because he wanted to return to the UK to clear his name.
Abedi spoke only to give his name and date of birth to the court, and to confirm his nationality as British.
Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot remanded him in custody ahead of a bail hearing at Oxford Crown Court on Monday.
There will be a preliminary hearing at the Old Bailey on July 30.
Inquests into the killings have been on hold while criminal proceedings against Abedi remained in limbo.
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