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

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs