Brother of Manchester bomber who fled to Libya to deny role in attack

The brother of the Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi will deny helping him murder 22 people in the terror attack in 2017, he has indicated.

Hashem Abedi, 22, appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court charged with 22 counts of murder - one for each victim of the attack - as well as one count of attempted murder covering all other victims, and a charge of conspiring with his brother.

Abedi, the younger brother of Salman was raised in Manchester and fled to Libya before his sibling detonated his suicide vest as fans left an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena.

Arianna Grande at a memorial concert in Manchester (left). The man behind the bombing (right). Source: AAP

The blast killed 22 people and the court heard that 260 people were seriously injured, including those with life-changing injuries, while at least 600 had reported psychological harm.

Abedi was arrested in Libya two years ago and has now been extradited to face charges relating to the terror attack.

No formal pleas were entered during the brief hearing but Abedi’s counsel Zafar Ali QC said the defendant denied the charges against him.

Mr Ali told the court Abedi had been in solitary confinement since his arrest and had been tortured by the Special Deterrence Force in Tripoli, also known as Rada, and forced to sign a 40-page confession.

But he said the 22-year-old had not contested extradition because he wanted to return to the UK to clear his name.

Court artist sketch of Hashem Abedi in the dock at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London, where he is appearing following his extradition from Libya. Source: Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire

Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot remanded Abedi in custody ahead of a bail hearing at Oxford Crown Court next week. He will then appear at the Old Bailey in London for a preliminary hearing on July 30.

Inquests into the deaths of the Manchester Arena victims have been on hold while criminal proceedings against Abedi remained in limbo.

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