Pair of convicted terrorists charged with UK prison assault

Pair of convicted terrorists charged with UK prison assault
Hashem Abedi, left, and Ahmed Hassan have been charged with assault. (Police Handouts)
Short Url
Updated 13 January 2021

Pair of convicted terrorists charged with UK prison assault

Pair of convicted terrorists charged with UK prison assault
  • Brother of Manchester bomber and London train bomber charged with assaulting officer at Belmarsh high-security prison
  • Hashem Abedi was last year jailed for life for playing an “integral part” in the attack at an Ariana Grande concert

LONDON: The brother of the 2017 Manchester suicide bomber, and an Iraqi asylum seeker behind a botched London Underground train bombing, have been charged with assaulting a prison officer, police said Wednesday.
Hashem Abedi, 23, whose brother Salman killed 22 people in the Manchester concert bombing, and Ahmed Hassan, 21, who injured 30 people in his rush-hour attack in the capital later the same year, were charged over a May 2020 incident at Belmarsh high-security prison.
Abedi, who was last year jailed for life for playing an “integral part” in the attack at an Ariana Grande concert, also faces charges for assaulting a second prison officer at the jail in southeast London.
Prosecutors also charged a third man, Muhammed Saeed, 22, with assault for his alleged involvement in the prison attack.
The trio will appear at a London magistrates’ court on April 7.
Abedi was convicted of murder, attempted murder and conspiring to cause explosions at a trial that ended in March last year, after one of the worst terror attacks on British soil.
The Daesh group-inspired suicide bombing committed by Salman Abedi happened among crowds of mostly young people leaving the concert at the Manchester Arena.
The youngest victim was aged just eight. Others included parents who had come to pick up their children.
Hassan was found guilty in March 2018 of attempted murder over the botched bombing at Parsons Green underground station in southwest London the previous September.
He left the improvised bucket bomb filled with screwdrivers, knives, nuts, bolts and TATP explosives in a carriage carrying 93 passengers but it only partially exploded.
Hassan, who arrived in Britain in October 2015, had alighted from the train at the previous stop.


‘Get out Bolsonaro!’ say ex-supporters in Brazil as COVID-19, vaccines weigh

Demostrators take part in a protest in Brasilia on January 24, 2021 against Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro and his handling of the coronavirus disease outbreak. (REUTERS/Adriano Machado)
Demostrators take part in a protest in Brasilia on January 24, 2021 against Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro and his handling of the coronavirus disease outbreak. (REUTERS/Adriano Machado)
Updated 31 min 5 sec ago

‘Get out Bolsonaro!’ say ex-supporters in Brazil as COVID-19, vaccines weigh

Demostrators take part in a protest in Brasilia on January 24, 2021 against Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro and his handling of the coronavirus disease outbreak. (REUTERS/Adriano Machado)
  • Support for Bolsonaro has fallen by the largest amount since the beginning of his government in 2019
  • His administration was rated as bad or terrible by 40% of respondents, compared with 32% in early-December

RIO DE JANEIRO: Meggy Fernandes voted for Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil’s 2018 presidential election, attracted by the far-right former army captain’s promise to shake up a hidebound political establishment mired in endless graft scandals.
But after watching him jettison his anti-corruption pledges, strike pacts with the politicians he vowed to shun, and, most importantly, botch Brazil’s coronavirus response, Fernandes, 66, now says she was wrong to place her faith in Bolsonaro.
“I’m so revolted by my vote,” she said in a supermarket carpark in Rio de Janeiro, at an unusual pro-impeachment rally convened by right-wing groups. “Bolsonaro is overseeing a terrible government. He’s doing a disservice to the nation. His handling of the pandemic is completely wrong.”
Despite repeatedly denying the severity of the pandemic and overseeing a response that has blighted Brazil with the world’s second highest number of COVID-19 fatalities after the United States, Bolsonaro ended 2020 riding high in the polls, buoyed by a generous coronavirus support package.
January has been less kind, however. The welfare program is now over, leaving many poor Brazilians stranded as a second wave gathers steam. Others have been irked by the federal government’s slow and patchy vaccine rollout, and Bolsonaro’s personal pledge not to take any COVID-19 shot.
A recent surge in cases in the northern city of Manaus, which was one of the first places badly hit by the virus during the first wave, has proved to be another stain on the president’s coronavirus response. The city, deep in the Amazon rainforest, ran out of oxygen last week, leaving hospitals reliant on black-market cylinders, or tanks imported from Bolsonaro’s longtime foe Venezuela.
Support for Bolsonaro has fallen by the largest amount since the beginning of his government in 2019, a Datafolha poll on Friday showed. His administration was rated as bad or terrible by 40% of respondents, compared with 32% in early-December. Just under a third of respondents rated Bolsonaro’s government as good or excellent, versus 37% in the previous poll.
In Brasilia, though, Bolsonaro seems to be on steadier ground. A majority of Brazilians reject him being impeached, a second Datafolha poll on Friday found. It showed that 53% of respondents are against Congress opening impeachment proceedings, up from 50% in a previous survey. Those favoring impeachment fell to 43% from 46%.
Bolsonaro-backed candidates are also expected to win control of Congress next month. His growing willingness to discuss political horse-trading has helped him secure a base of center-right lawmakers who could scotch any chances of impeachment.
But it is exactly those partnerships that brought out a smattering of protesters to a scorching parking lot in Rio’s Barra da Tijuca neighborhood on Sunday.
Convened by Vem Pra Rua and Movimento Brasil Livre, two right-wing groups whose nationwide protests in 2016 helped precipitate the impeachment and later removal of former leftist President Dilma Rousseff, Sunday’s protests were full of disgusted former Bolsonaro supporters. Similar events took place in Sao Paulo and Brasilia, with left-wing pro-impeachment protests across Brazil on Saturday.
Although turnout in Rio was thin, if the numbers swell in the months ahead, it may pose a problem for the president ahead of 2022, when he is certain to seek re-election.
Like others at the protest, Patricia Resende, a 57-year-old civil servant, said Bolsonaro was unlikely to be impeached.
She said many of her friends who voted for Bolsonaro still liked him. But Resende said she had come to “take a stand” against what she described as his “electoral swindle.”
“He has been a coronavirus denier,” she said. “He didn’t try to buy enough vaccines for a population of more than 200 million people.”
As the crowd assembled, Fernandes picked up the microphone and gave an impassioned speech about Bolsonaro’s handling of the pandemic and her disappointment of his presidency.
“’Long live Bolsonaro!’” she exclaimed as she finished, before realizing her error, blushing and quickly correcting herself. “Sorry, I meant ‘Get out Bolsonaro!”