Manchester Arena attack plotter Hashem Abedi ‘refusing’ de-radicalisation programme in prison

The terrorist who plotted the Manchester Arena bomb attack that killed 22 people is refusing to participate in any de-radicalisation programmes in prison, a documentary has claimed. 

Hashem Abedi is imprisoned at HMP Frankland near Durham, and is one of a number of high-profile criminals locked up for terror offences at the facility, ITV reported. 

Within HMP Frankland there is separation centre where those with the most extreme views are kept in isolation in an attempt to stop them radicalising other inmates. 

Abedi is understood to be one of five men being kept in this wing where he is rejecting any attempt to rehabilitate him, according to ITV. 

Though the broadcaster claims they observed Abedi on CCTV security footage socialising with a former Taliban fighter jailed for plotting terror attacks in the UK.   

EXCL: We can reveal Manchester Arena bomb plotter Hashem Abedi is refusing to co-operate with any deradicalisation programmes and has been separated from other inmates.

We had unprecedented access to the Separation Centre that houses him at HMP Frankland.pic.twitter.com/dUPFCR5zWG

— Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) July 28, 2021

Probation officer and prisoner offender manager Richard Vipond, who is one of the members of staff monitoring and engaging prisoners in anti-terrorism programmes, told ITV: "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."

The prison nor the Ministry of Justice revealed who the five men on the "prison within a prison" were, but there are 25 Terrorism Act (TACT) prisoners at HMP Frankland. 

While locked in their cells, the separation centre prisoners talk to one another by shouting through open windows and cameras captured one of these conversations, as they spoke Arabic and discussed listening to the radio and taking naps.   

ITV was also granted access to HMP Full Sutton near York, and between the two prisons they hold some of Britain’s most infamous criminals. 

Soham murderer Ian Huntley, Milly Dowler’s killer Levi Bellfield and until his recent death the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe are understood to be in jail there. 

And terrorists Thomas Mair – murderer of MP Jo Cox – and the Parsons Green bomber Ahmed Hassan are also on the list of terrorist inmates at the two prisons, alongside Abedi. 

Emma Fullard, a Counter Terrorism Analyst who works within the department, told ITV: "It is very intense at times, sometimes it’s hard not to take it home. 

"Some of the TACT offenders we monitor are quite high profile so you’re leaving work to go home and see them all over the news. 

"So we’re doing our best to make sure nothing can happen to the staff inside or so that they can’t plan anything on the outside either."   

The Governor at Frankland, Darren Finley, believes that his officers must keep trying to rehabilitate and de-radicalise prisoners despite it being a system they have so radically set themselves against.   

"The management of those offenders is disproportionate to resource, and there’s a lot of resource being put into the safe management and risk management of them," he said. 

"Those individuals came to prison for a specific reason and most will be released back into the community at some point."

The Telegraph has contacted the Ministry of Justice for comment, but nobody was immediately available.

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