Northern Ireland police have arrested and questioned the leader of the Sinn Féin political party for his alleged connection to the Irish Republican Army and his role in the killing of a woman 42 years ago.
"President Gerry Adams remains in custody in connection with the murder of Jean McConville. The mother of 10 was abducted and shot by the IRA in 1972." (Via BBC)
"The 65-year-old says he's innocent of any part of the murder of Jean McConville. The mother of 10 was killed by the IRA after they wrongly accused her of being an army informant." (Via Channel 5)
The IRA admitted to killing McConville in 1999 following the end of a 30-year, Protestant vs. Catholic-conflict known as the Troubles. Although Adams never admitted to being a part of the IRA, many allege he was at the helm of the military organization when McConville was killed. (Via Businessweek)
So how exactly does a well-known politician of a fast-growing political party become embroiled in a 42-year-old murder mystery? Well, it started with a project in Massachusetts.
Sky News reports Boston College conducted interviews in 2001 with those involved in the Troubles in Northern Ireland as a part of an oral history. The participants were assured that their interviews wouldn't be made public until their deaths.
According to The Boston Globe, two of the participants — who died recently — had implicated Adams in McConville's murder, though both had fallen out with Adams before their deaths. The Department of Justice issued subpoenas for the taped interviews and they were turned over to federal authorities.
Adams voluntarily turning himself into police and his subsequent arrest comes just weeks before local elections take place in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Deputy First Minister of Ireland and Sinn Féin politician Martin McGuinness says Adams' arrest is an attempt to influence those elections, though others have disagreed, saying this is a part of the police process. (Via ITV)
The Wall Street Journal spoke to a college professor in Dublin who said Adams' arrest could affect "Sinn Féin's image in Ireland, where it presents itself as a progressive, left wing and potentially governing party."
A Daily Beast writer says the Northern Ireland peace process with the U.K. is also at stake, seeing that Adams helped author a '98 peace deal following the Troubles. If he's put on trial, that peace will be "undermined." If he emerges from interrogations as an innocent man, Adams could put the murder allegation behind him.
The BBC reports a judge will rule Friday whether Adams can continue to be held in custody without Irish authorities pressing charges.