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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora