Since 17th July 2019 when Hashem Abedi was extradited back to the UK, all those impacted by the MEN bombing at an Ariana Grande concert have had their hopes for justice raised. Now, in the midst of the Corona-Virus uncertainty: a small amount of closure has been granted in the conviction of the bomber's brother Hashem Abidi. He was convicted of 22 counts of murder and one count of attempted murder to cover those injured at the MEN Arena.

Through their verdict the jury at the Old Bailey held Hashem Abidi equally as liable for the deaths as his brother Salman.

Victims' Families and survivors' Sense of Relief

It's been a long and gruelling time for victims' families and survivors since that fateful evening on 22nd May 2017. Paul Hett, the father of 29 year old victim Martyn Hett spoke of "an overwhelming sense of justice to all those affected by this heinous crime".

The agony of the families and those involved has been visible ever since the attack. 16 year old survivor Freya Lewis has written a chilling book around the tragedy entitled What Makes Us Stronger. Freya's friend Nell Jones is one of the victim's covered by Salaman Abedi's 22 murder convictions.

Hashem Abedi's defiance did not deter jury

On 12th March 2020 Hashem Abedi fired his entire team and withdrew from the trial.

The reasoning for this strange move follows a string of 'no comment' police interviews leading to conjecture that Abedi has never been in the mindset to cooperate. Therefore, he was not present for the verdict, victims families were denied the chance to look the convicted murderer in the eyes. They will have the opportunity to provide Victim Personal Statements to help ensure Abedi is aware of the impact of his actions.

Circumstantial evidence mounted up against Abidi

Even though investigators were unable to fingerprint Hashem Abidi, they were able to determine his prints on a prototype detonator, through intense forensic work. His DNA was also found in properties in Manchester where the bomb was created. The jury also heard evidence of his involvement in research, testing and making explosives, before he returned to Libya.

Sense of relief in scared city of Manchester

There is an air of relief in the city of Manchester that is dealing with the impact of the Coronavirus like every other in the UK. The bee symbolises solidarity and unity for the people of Manchester and is a proud sight as a tattoos or posters around the city. The verdict means accountability for what happened rests with Abedi and his deceased brother Salman. It is a testament to the unity of the city who breathes a small, collective sigh of relief, as they continue to Live with the devastation and heartbreak of that fateful evening nearly three years ago.

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