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

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 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.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
football
Arts and Entertainment
Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
News
Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
News
Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
newsLiz Kendall: profile
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?