Terrorist with links to Manchester bomber set for release despite warnings he remains a danger

Martin Evans
·2-min read
Abdalraouf Abdallah was jailed in 2016
Abdalraouf Abdallah was jailed in 2016

A convicted terrorist with close links to the Manchester Arena bomber could still be a hardened extremist, experts have warned, after it emerged that he is set to be released from prison without a parole hearing.

Abdalraouf Abdallah, 27, was jailed in July 2016 after being convicted of helping people to travel to Syria to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

He was sentenced to nine years and six months in total and told he would have to serve five and a half years in prison and the rest of the term on licence.

Having spent time on remand he has now completed the custodial element of his sentence and is expected to be released next week.

But terrorism experts have warned that Abdallah could still be dangerous and should not be released until he has completed the full nine and a half years.

While in prison Abdallah received a visit from Salman Abedi, who killed 22 people when he blew himself up during an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena.

Dr Rakib Ehsan, research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, told the Telegraph: "Irrespective of his supposedly strict licensing conditions, releasing Abdallah — a man who has close links to the Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi — poses a clear threat to British public safety. 

"Given he was released automatically, without a parole hearing, we simply have no idea if he has been ‘deradicalised’ or remains a hardened fundamentalist.  All this tells a story of a fundamentally flawed system for dealing with Islamist terrorists."

The public inquiry into the Manchester atrocity has heard that Abdallah is a "witness with important evidence to give", but it is understood he has refused to cooperate.

He is expected to be released under some of the most stringent conditions applied to a terrorist out on licence.

These are expected to heavily restrict his freedom of movement, ban him from using the internet and ensure he only mixes with people who have been subject to approval by the authorities.

Abdallah, who was born in Libya, grew up in the same part of Manchester as the Abedi brothers and in 2010 travelled to Tripoli to join in the uprising against Colonel Gaddafi.

He was shot and paralysed and returned to the UK in order to undergo life saving surgery, although he remains in a wheelchair.

An overhaul of the sentencing system around terrorism offences means there will be longer prison terms for those convicted of the most serious crimes with an end to early releases.