News / Europe

IRA Leader Arrested Over 1972 Murder

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams arrives at the funeral of veteran British Labour politician Tony Benn at St. Margaret's Church, Westminster Abbey in London, March 27, 2014.
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams arrives at the funeral of veteran British Labour politician Tony Benn at St. Margaret's Church, Westminster Abbey in London, March 27, 2014.
Al Pessin
The leader of the political wing of the Irish Republican Army has been arrested in connection with a murder 42 years ago, during the region’s conflict.

The arrest of Gerry Adams followed several hours of police questioning Wednesday.  Police called him in to answer questions about the murder of widowed mother of 10, Jean McConville, in 1972, when Northern Ireland was embroiled in violence.

The arrest is apparently linked to interviews with former Irish Republican Army fighters for a history project at Boston University in the United States.  The interviews were to have been kept secret until all the interviewees died.  But last year, a U.S. court ordered the university to hand over the tapes to the police in Northern Ireland.

One of the interviewees was arrested in March for alleged involvement in the killing.  At least one of the interviews implicates Adams.

The leader of Sinn Fein, the Irish Republican Army’s political wing, Adams has always denied involvement in the incident.  Over two decades, he has become a key figure in the region’s reconciliation efforts.  

In a statement Thursday, the 65-year-old politician said he is “innocent of any part in the abduction, killing or burial of Mrs. McConville,” which he called “wrong and a grievous injustice.”

Three years ago, he made this statement about the period called “The Troubles.”

“I regret very much that anyone was killed as a result of conflict in our country. And there is a lot of work to be done by all of us as part of a healing process in the time ahead,” said Adams.

During “The Troubles,” “Republicans” [mostly Catholics] wanted the British territory to re-unite with the rest of Ireland. “Unionists” [mostly Protestants] wanted it to remain part of Britain.

Members of the radical Irish Republican Army carried out a violent campaign to try to force Britain to withdraw from Northern Ireland.  

In 1972, its leaders suspected 37-year-old Jean McConville of informing the British Army about its activities. A gang abducted her from her home, in front of her children, and she was never seen again.

Nearly 30 years later, as part of reconciliation efforts, the IRA revealed the location of her grave, at a beach 80 kilometers from her home. She had been shot in the back of the head.

The Northern Ireland peace accord that Adams helped finalize in 1998 has been largely successful, but there still are occasional flare-ups of violence. The most recent was just over a year ago, in a dispute over removing the British flag from the city government building in the region’s capital, Belfast.

Adams’ arrest comes in the midst of campaigning for local and European Parliament elections. He questioned the timing of the arrest, and his party called it “politically motivated,” a charge the British Prime Minister’s office denied.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid