Sinn Fein leader Adams will not be prosecuted for 1972 murder | News | DW | 29.09.2015
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Sinn Fein leader Adams will not be prosecuted for 1972 murder

Prosecutors have said there is insufficient evidence to prosecute Irish leader Gerry Adams for the 1972 abduction and murder of Jean McConville. The decision comes amid a political crisis in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland's public prosecution service said Adams, the leader of Sinn Fein, along with six other people would not be prosecuted in McConville's abduction and death at the hands of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) admitted her murder in 1999. Her body wasn't discovered until 2003.

McConville, a mother of 10, was only one of some 3,000 people killed in three decades of violence between Catholic Irish separatists and Protestants in Northern Ireland - known as the Troubles - but her case garnered significant public outcry.

Adams, who denied any involvement and has denied ever being a member of the IRA, was briefly arrested in May 2014 for his alleged role in the killing. His arrest prompted a political crisis in Northern Ireland's power-sharing government.

"We have given careful consideration to the evidence currently available in respect of each of the three men and four women reported and have concluded that it is insufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of obtaining a conviction against any of them for a criminal offence," the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Pamela Atchison, said in a statement.

The prosecutors said the evidence against Adams and six others was "hearsay."

An eighth individual, Ivor Bell, was arrested and charged in 2014 for soliciting the murder.

Adams has denied ever being a member of the IRA. He has, however, headed its former political wing, Sinn Fein since 1983.

The IRA was responsible for numerous bombings and shootings during three decades of violence, known as the Troubles.

Political crisis

The decision not to prosecute Adams comes amid a brewing political crisis in Northern Ireland's power-sharing government after pro-British First Minister Peter Robinson resigned.

The resignation was sparked by the murder of ex-IRA hit man Kevin McGuigan last month. A police assessment suggested that members of the Provisional IRA, the main republican paramilitary group, may have been involved in the killing.

That revelation put into question key provisions of the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement to end the conflict between Catholics and Protestants. Under the accord both sides agreed to a power sharing agreement and Sinn Fein's militant wing, the IRA, was to dissolve.

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