The brother of a suicide bomber who killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, northwest England, in 2017 was on Thursday jailed for life.
Judge Jeremy Baker said Hashem Abedi, who was convicted in March of murder, attempted murder and conspiring to cause explosions, would spend a minimum of 55 years in prison.
Abedi, 23, refused to attend the two-day hearing at the Central Criminal Court in London, which saw emotional statements from families of victims of the May 22, 2017 attack.
Judge Baker said even though Abedi’s 22-year-old brother Salman carried out the bombing at the Manchester Arena, he was an “integral part” of its preparation.
He condemned the ISIL (ISIS) armed group-inspired attack – one of the worst on British soil in which hundreds of people were injured – as “abhorrent” to most followers of Islam.
“The defendant and his brother were equally culpable for the deaths and injuries caused,” he told the court.
UK police: Suicide bomber behind deadly Manchester attack (2:43)
“The stark reality is that these were atrocious crimes, large in their scale, deadly in their intent, and appalling in their consequences.
“The despair and desolation of the bereaved families has been palpable,” he said, paying tribute to the “tremendous dignity and courage” of the victims and their families.
The judge said Abedi could not be given a whole-life term – ensuring he would never be released – because he was aged under 21 at the time of the offences.
But he said a whole-life term “would have been a just sentence”.
The more than three years that Abedi has already spent in custody would count towards the sentence until he was eligible for parole. But he added: “He may never be released.”
Prosecutors said Hashem Abedi was in Libya at the time of the attack but he became the first suspect to be extradited from the country to the UK in July 2019.