[QODLink]
Europe

Sinn Fein leader arrested over woman's death

Gerry Adams in custody as part of Northern Ireland police investigation into 1972 murder of Jean McConville.

Last updated: 01 May 2014 11:06
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Northern Ireland police have arrested Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams during an investigation into one of the country's most notorious murders.

The Sinn Fein Party, the second largest opposition party in Northern Ireland, said on Wednesday that Adams was being questioned by police investigating the 1972 abduction and murder of Jean McConville, a mother of ten children. The Police Service of Northern Ireland [PSNI] said a 65-year-old had been arrested by detectives investigating the killing.

In the 1980s, Adams was spokesman for the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which fought against British rule. He reinvented himself as a Northern Ireland peacemaker and then as a populist opposition politician in parliament.

Adams rejects involvement in McConville's killing.

"I believe that the killing of Jean McConville and the secret burial of her body was wrong and a grievous injustice to her and her family," he said in a statement.

"Well publicised, malicious allegations have been made against me. I reject these," he added.

Alleged informer

McConville had been suspected by the IRA as being an informer, a charge her family has always denied.

The investigation into her killing has been revived by the release of a series of interviews given by former fighters from the Northern Ireland conflict to Boston College.

As head of the political wing of the IRA, Sinn Fein, Adams was a pariah during the 1980s in the UK and was banned from speaking on British television.

He later helped broker a 1998 peace deal that largely ended three decades of violence between Catholic fighters seeking union with Ireland and mainly Protestant opponents, who wanted to maintain Northern Ireland's position as part of the UK. 

Popular figure

Since the peace deal, Adam's role as a statesman has grown. He has visited the White House and was a guest of honour at the funeral of Nelson Mandela, the former South African president, last year.

It is unclear what affect the arrest might have on Northern Ireland's power-sharing government, whose deputy first minister, former IRA commander Martin McGuinness, is also a member of Sinn Fein who has reinvented himself as a statesman and met the Queen in 2012.

The arrest is likely to have major ramifications in the Republic of Ireland, where Adams' Sinn Fein party campaigns against the government's austerity policies.

380

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.