Bomber's brother gets 55 years for Manchester concert attack

FILE - In this file photo dated Thursday, July 18, 2019, a vehicle carrying Hashem Abedi, the brother of Manchester Arena suicide bomber leaves Westminster Magistrates Court in London. The brother of the suicide bomber who set off an explosion that killed 22 people and injured hundreds at a 2017 Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, has been sentenced Thursday Aug. 20, 2020, to a minimum of 55 years. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, FILE) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

LONDON – The brother of the suicide bomber who set off an explosion at a 2017 Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, killing 22 people and injuring hundreds, was sentenced Thursday to a minimum of 55 years in prison.

Hashem Abedi, 23, had denied helping plan the attack at Manchester Arena but was found guilty of murder, attempted murder, and conspiring to cause explosions. His sentencing had been postponed due to travel restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

His elder brother Salman Abedi set off the bomb in the arena's foyer at the end of the May 22, 2017 concert, as fans — including thousands of children and young people — were leaving the pop star’s show. He died in the explosion.

Hashem Abedi refused to attend court for the two-day sentencing hearing, which heard powerful testimony from the families of the victims, many of whom fought back tears as they described their grief.

Judge Jeremy Baker said that the two brothers were “equally culpable for the deaths and injuries caused by the explosion.”

“Although Salman Abedi was directly responsible, it was clear the defendant took an integral part in the planning,” Baker said.

The judge said that had the younger brother been over age 21 at the time of the explosion, he would have been given a “whole-life term.” Instead, he was sentenced to serve a minimum of 55 years before parole may be considered.

“The defendant should clearly understand the minimum term he should serve is 55 years. He may never be released,” Baker added.