The brother and alleged accomplice of the man who killed 22 people—and injured more than 250 others—by igniting a bomb outside an Ariana Grande concert has denied the 22 murder charges that he’s currently facing.
Prosecutors plan to argue that this individual — 22-year-old Hashem Abedi — directly aided and contributed to the bombing. Abedi’s brother was killed in the blast, which took place in Manchester, England, in 2017.
Prior to being extradited to England earlier this week, Hashem Abedi was jailed in Libya, his parents’ home country, having fled the U.K. following the bombing. While in a Tripoli prison, Abedi signed a written confession that detailed and confirmed his part in the planning and execution of the attack. Now, back in England, Abedi’s lawyer argues that his client was tortured and forced to sign the admission of guilt.
Abedi’s initial trial was brief — no more than 15 minutes, according to firsthand accounts — and consisted of Abedi confirming his name and British nationality. A bail hearing is currently planned for July 22nd, but experts have indicated that it’s unlikely Abedi will be allowed to post bond or bail, given that he is a serious flight risk.
Regardless of his case’s result, Abedi is expected to reveal previously unknown details of the suicide bombing’s planning and precise motive, and police and antiterrorism professionals will then use that knowledge to prevent future attacks.
This suicide bombing was one of several high-profile terrorist attacks that were carried out in England in 2017. That same year, civilians on the Westminster Bridge and the London Bridge were targeted by terrorists, who used vehicles to ram bystanders before exiting and stabbing individuals.
As a result of the U.K.’s subsequent anti-terrorism efforts, many would-be attackers have been stopped prior to carrying out their plans. Here’s to hoping that all such tragedies can be prevented in the future.