Northern Ireland police are questioning Sinn Fein leader
Gerry Adams over the 1972 abduction and murder of Jean
McConville, his party says, after police said detectives
investigating the case had arrested a 65-year-old man.
Adams said in a statement that he was "innocent of any part"
in the death of McConville, a widowed mother of 10 who was
abducted and murdered by the IRA in 1972, one of the most
controversial crimes of Northern Ireland's sectarian
"I believe that the killing of Jean McConville and the secret
burial of her body was wrong and a grievous injustice to her
and her family," said Adams, who has always denied membership
of the Irish Republican Army, which admitted carrying out the
McConville's body was found on a beach in the Republic of
Ireland in 2003.
As the head of the political wing of the Irish Republican
Army, Adams was for many the face of Irish militant
nationalism during the IRA's bombing campaigns of the 1980s.
British media were banned for years from broadcasting his
Three decades of violence between Catholic militants seeking
union with Ireland and mainly Protestant militants, who
wanted to maintain Northern Ireland's position as a part of
Britain, largely ended after a 1998 peace deal.
But investigations into historic crimes by pro-British
militants were blamed by some observers for sparking some of
the worst street violence for years in Northern Ireland in
It is unclear what affect the arrest might have on Northern
Ireland's power-sharing government, whose deputy first
minister, Martin McGuinness, is also a member of Sinn Fein.
A statement from the Police Service of Northern Ireland said
a man had "presented himself" to police this evening, but it
did not name the suspect.
Adams, who is the leader of Ireland's second largest
opposition party, suggested his arrest could be politically
"I do have concerns in the middle of an election about the
timing," he told Irish television station RTE before he
volunteered himself for questioning.
Sinn Fein is campaigning for European elections on May 23.