The British and Irish governments have denied that political interference led to the arrest of republican leader Gerry Adams. Northern Ireland police continue to question him over the 1972 murder of a mother of ten.
British Prime Minister David Cameron and Irish Republic Prime Minister Enda Kenny said on Thursday the arrest in Northern Ireland of Adams resulted from police investigations and did not stem from political interference.
Adams in a statement released shortly after his arrest late Wednesday denied "any part" in the Irish Republic Army's (IRA) 1972 abduction and murder of Jean McConville, a mother of 10 children. Police continued to question Adams on Thursday.
Police have until 8 p.m. (1900 UTC) Friday before a judge must rule on whether he can be detained further. Adams, who heads Sinn Fein, has always denied membership of the IRA.
Denial and assertion
Northern Ireland's deputy first minister, Martin McGuiness said the arrest of Adams was a "deliberate attempt to influence the outcome of the elections," three weeks before local and European Parliament polls.
Cameron told Britain's Sky News Thursday that there had been "absolutely no political interference in this issue."
"We have independent policing authorities, independent prosecuting authorities," Cameron said.
Kenny, who is Irish Taoiseach [prime minister], said the "most important fact" was that a "live investigation" was continuing.
"All I can say is that I hope the president of Sinn Fein answers in the best way he can, to the fullest extent that he can, questions that are being asked about a live murder investigation," Kenny said.
Kenny's party, Fine Gael, said Sinn Fein's suggestion of a political motivation were "baseless and desperate."
McGuinness on Thursday accused the Police Service of Northern Ireland of containing a "dark side" which was "maliciously and vehemently hostile" to Northern Ireland's peace process.
McGuiness is also a leading member of Sinn Fein which currently shares power with its old foe, the pro-British Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in the devolved government in Belfast.
In 1972, Jean McConville, then aged 37, was taken from her flat in the Northern Irish capital of Belfast and shot dead by the outlawed Irish Republican Army (IRA).
Members falsely accused her of being an informer for British security services.
The IRA admitted her murder in 1999. Her remains were found in 2003, buried on a beach in County Louth of the adjourning Republic of Ireland where Adams is an opposition party parliamentarian.
His party, Sinn Fein, said when arrested late Wednesday he had "voluntarily" presented himself for questioning at a police station in Antrim.
Adams said he rejected "well publicized, malicious allegations" made against him, adding that he was "innocent of any part in the abduction, killing or burial of Mrs. McConville."
Testimony on tape
Last year, a US court ordered that interview tapes derived from a 2001 research project done by Boston College be handed over police in Northern Ireland.
On Thursday, the US university said it had "no involvement in the matter" since portions of the tapes were taken on court order.
The Boston College research project was on The Troubles, the decades-long conflict in Northern Ireland between militants among Catholic republican and pro-British Protestants.
On Good Friday 1998, an internationally brokered peace deal largely ended the violence.
ipj/kms (dpa, Reuters, AFP)