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Sinn Fein's Adams Is Released; Was Questioned About Murder

NPR | May 4, 2014 1:39 p.m.

Contributed By:

Bill Chappell

Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly speaks to the media outside Antrim Police station in Antrim, Northern Ireland, Sunday. Police will reportedly release Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams after questioning him about the 1972 murder of Jean McConville.

Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly speaks to the media outside Antrim Police station in Antrim, Northern Ireland, Sunday. Police will reportedly release Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams after questioning him about the 1972 murder of Jean McConville.

AP, Peter Morrison

Gerry Adams, the leader of the mostly Catholic party Sinn Fein who was held by police for several days of questioning about a 1972 murder, will reportedly be released today. Adams’ arrest had rattled the delicate power-sharing arrangement in Northern Ireland.

Adams, 65, was taken into custody Wednesday, after police decided to question him about “an IRA kidnapping and murder that occurred more than 40 years ago,” as the Two-Way reported.

As NPR’s Larry Miller reports from London, “A number of former IRA members have said Adams ordered the killing of Jean McConville, a Catholic mother of 10 wrongly assumed to have been a British informant. Adams denies the allegation.”

Police in Northern Ireland had until Sunday evening, local time, “to decide whether to charge, release him, or seek a further extension in custody,” Reuters says.

Police have sent a file about Adams’ questioning to prosecutors who will now “decide if there is enough evidence to bring any charges and what those charges would be,” the BBC reports.

The allegations were recently revived by a Boston College-sponsored history project in which a journalist and a former IRA volunteer recorded interviews with people who implicated Adams in McConville’s death.

For NPR’s Newscast unit, Larry describes the political argument sparked by Adams’ arrest:

“Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister, the Catholic Martin McGuinness, threatened to pull Sinn Fein’s support for the police force, a key condition of the power-sharing agreement. He claims Adam’s arrest is politically motivated.

“However, Peter Robinson, the Protestant first minister, accuses McGuiness of what he calls ‘bully-boy tactics.’ In a statement, Robinson accuses McGuiness of ‘a despicable, thuggish attempt’ to blackmail the police.”

[Copyright 2014 NPR]

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