Gerry Adams, the leader of the mostly Catholic party Sinn Fein, was released Sunday after five days of police questioning about a 1972 murder. Adams’ arrest had rattled the delicate power-sharing arrangement in Northern Ireland. His release was confirmed by a police statement today.
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.
Update at 1 p.m. ET: Adams Released
Our original report said Adams’ release was pending; it’s now been confirmed by a statement from the Police Service of Northern Ireland, according to the BBC and Reuters. Our original post continues:
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.”