Brother of Michael Adebolajo says Lee Rigby's killer 'does not pose a threat to society' and condemns whole life sentence

Jeremiah Adebolajo said his brother also felt 'sympathy' for Rigby's bereaved son

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The Independent Online

The brother of Michael Adebolajo, one of the men who brutally hacked Fusilier Lee Rigby to death, has claimed Adebolajo would live a productive life if he was released from prison and does not pose a danger to society.

Jeremiah Adebolajo said his brother should have been tried for treason instead of murder, in a court case he described as an Islamophobic “trial by the public” during an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live.

When asked if he believed his brother would pose a danger to society, he responded “personally, I don’t believe he would, no,” and instead insisted he would lead “a very productive life” if he was released.

He said it was important to remember that Adebolajo “has young children himself”.

Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale were sentenced to a whole-life and a life sentence with a minimum of 45 years respectively for the killing the 25-year-old Fusilier as he walked back to the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, south-east London, on 22 May last year.

Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale

They drove into the young soldier at 40mph as he was crossing the road opposite the barracks. They then dragged his body into the middle of the road and attacked him with a meat cleaver, almost decapitating him as shocked members of the public looked on.

Mr Adebolajo told Victoria Derbyshire that he has a “tremendous amount of sympathy” towards Rigby’s son because he will grow up without a father – and said he thinks his brother does too.

But when pressed over whether he seriously believed the man who killed Rigby would sympathise with his bereaved son, he refused to respond.


Because Rigby was performing a public service, Mr Adebolajo argued “it would have been more fitting, I think, that my brother, a British citizen, be charged with treason for killing a soldier”.

“It seems strange to me that a man can be sentenced to life for the death of one man and another man can be sentenced to 40 years for the death of one man and the attempted murder of many others,” he continued, drawing a parallel between his brother and Pavlo Lapshyn, who was jailed for 40 years for killing a man and planning to bomb three mosques.

“I wonder what the difference is here. I see that somebody has died in both cases.”

“It seems strange that [the judge] can suggest there is no prospect of rehabilitation for my brother and there is a prospect of rehabilitation for [Pavlo Lapshyn] who openly stated he wished to create a race war.”

When the presenter asked if he believed there was an element of Islamophobia in the sentencing of his brother, he replied: “Yes. Not only that but I think it was trial by the public.

“There was a lot of public outrage as could be understood… with the death of a soldier. I would suggest that [the judge] was giving in to that pressure. We all know …that my brother was the focus. I believe [the judge] was simply giving the public what they wanted.”