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Manchester Arena bomb plotter held in prison with extremism separation unit

Written by on 8 October 2020

Manchester Arena bomb plotter Hashem Abedi is being held in one of three prisons with separation centres dubbed “jails within jails”, which were first announced in 2017 to tackle extremism behind bars.

During a hearing at the Old Bailey, it emerged Abedi is serving time at County Durham’s maximum-security Frankland Prison.

The facility has housed other notorious inmates, including Fusilier Lee Rigby’s terrorist killer Michael Adebolajo, Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, and Charles Bronson.

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Hashem Abedi was convicted in March

Abedi was sentenced to at least 55 years in jail after being convicted in March of 22 counts of murder, attempted murder and plotting to cause an explosion likely to endanger life following the attack at an Ariana Grande concert on 22 May 2017.

His older brother, Salman Abedi, who was 22, detonated the suicide bomb in the foyer of the Manchester Arena at 10.31pm, as thousands of men, women and children left the event.

The trial judge, Mr Justice Jeremy Baker, confirmed that Hashem Abedi will be subject to a 30-year notification order if he is ever freed, following a prosecution oversight during the original sentencing hearing.

He said the authorities at HMP Frankland had offered him the chance to provide a response ahead of the hearing.

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He said: “Mr Abedi made it clear that he didn’t wish to do so and confirmed that he didn’t request to be present at this hearing.”

It is not known whether Abedi is being held in the jail’s separation centre – the only one currently in use in England and Wales, although Full Sutton and Woodhill also have them available.

Salman Abedi
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Salman Abedi carried out the bombing in May 2017

Inmates can be moved to the specialist units if they are linked to terror plotting, or considered to pose a risk to national security.

The Abedi brothers, from Fallowfield in south Manchester, spent months ordering, stockpiling and transporting the deadly materials for the terror attack, using multiple mobile phones, addresses and runaround vehicles to make their bomb.

They joined their parents in Libya the month before the blast, but Salman Abedi returned to the UK on 18 May.

He bought the final components needed for the device, rented a flat in the city centre in which to build it, and did reconnaissance on the arena before carrying out the attack – the final moments of which were caught on CCTV.