The brother of a suicide bomber who killed 22 people in 2017 at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, has been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 55 years before possibility of parole.
“Both brothers bore equal culpability,” said Justice Jeremy Baker, announcing the sentence Thursday.
Manchester-born Hashem Abedi, 23, was convicted in March of murder, attempted murder and conspiring to cause explosions. The sentencing hearing, which he refused to attend, was delayed due to the pandemic.
“Although Salman Abedi was directly responsible for detonating the explosive device that evening, it is clear that the defendant had taken an integral part not only in the planning of such an event but in participating in its preparation,” Baker told the court.
The youngest of the 22 people killed in the May 22, 2017, blast was 8 years old. Another 260 people were injured, and more suffered psychological effects.
Because Hashem Abedi was under 21 at the time of the bombing, the minimum sentence was 30 years. Had he been of age, the starting point would have been life in prison.
During sentencing, Baker noted “the substantial degree of premeditation and planning involved” in the attack. He said the motivation behind it was “to advance the ideological cause of Islamism, a matter distinct from and abhorrent to the vast majority of those who follow the Islamic faith.”
In a Twitter thread Thursday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the attack a “horrifying and cowardly act of violence which targeted children and families.”
The Manchester Arena attack was a horrifying and cowardly act of violence which targeted children and families. 1/5— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) August 20, 2020
“Those who were taken from us will never be forgotten,” he added, “nor will the spirit of the people of Manchester, who came together to send a clear message to the entire world that terrorists will never prevail.”
Those who were taken from us will never be forgotten, nor will the spirit of the people of Manchester who came together to send a clear message to the entire world that terrorists will never prevail. 2/5— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) August 20, 2020
The 1,024 days that Hashem Abedi has spent in custody will be deducted from his sentence, meaning he has just over 52 years left at minimum. Baker said Thursday that he “may never be released.”