Arena bomb plotter refusing to take part in prison deradicalisation scheme

Manchester Arena bomb plotter Hashem Abedi is refusing to co-operate with a prison deradicalisation programme, it has been reported.

Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 4:52 pm

ITV News said Abedi is one of five inmates in a separation centre at maximum security HMP Frankland in County Durham and that he along with three others have turned down the opportunity to change their ways.

It said the Ministry of Justice granted them access to HMP Frankland and HMP Full Sutton in East Yorkshire to provide insight into how they attempt to deal with, house, categorise and deradicalise prisoners convicted of offences under the Terrorism Act.

The TV programme filmed the isolation unit at HMP Frankland for extremist prisoners.

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Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Hashem Abedi in the dock at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London in 2019

Richard Vipond, probation officer and prison offender manager at HMP Frankland, said: “One particular person I was working with, we opened his cell door and he said ‘I’m not going talk to you, you’re an enemy of Islam, you’re an Islamophobe, you’re my enemy’.

“There are some people that are so entrenched in their views, in their ideologies and their beliefs that we just become a holding centre for them.”

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Last October, Abedi, 23, admitted for the first time his involvement in planning the Manchester Arena bombing which killed 22 people.

He made the admission at HMP Frankland when he was visited by two members of the Arena public inquiry’s legal team to be interviewed as part of the probe into the atrocity on May 22 2017.

The brother of suicide bomber Salman Abedi, 22, had denied 22 counts of murder, attempted murder and plotting to cause an explosion likely to endanger life but was convicted by a jury of all the offences.

Last August he was handed 24 life sentences with a minimum term of 55 years before he can be considered for parole.

Abedi did not give evidence at his trial at the Old Bailey, absented himself from much of the proceedings and sacked his legal team.

He also refused to attend his sentencing hearing.

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 returned to the UK on May 18.

He bought the final components needed for the bomb, rented a flat in the city centre in which to build it and carried out reconnaissance on the Arena before finally executing the plot as fans departed from an Ariana Grande concert.

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