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Thursday, May 1, 2014 - 5
Northern Ireland police
say they have arrested
Sinn Fein leader Gerry
Adams on suspicion of
involvement in the Irish
Republican Army’s 1972
abduction, killing and
secret burial of a Belfast
Irish republican leader
Gerry Adams, head of the
Sinn Fein political party,
is being questioned over
the murder of a woman in
“ Last month Gerry Adams said he
was available to meet the PSNI (Police
Ser vice of Northern Ireland) about the
Jean McConville case,” the party said in
a statement overnight.
McConville, a 37-year-old mother of
10, was snatched from her west Belfast
flat and shot by republican paramilitary
outfit the IRA.
Her body was eventually found on a
beach in County Louth in 2003.
Adams has always denied any
“ 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,” he said.
“ Well publicised, malicious allegations
have been made against me. I reject
“ While I have never disassociated
myself from the IRA and I never will, I
am innocent of any part in the abduction,
killing or burial of Mrs McConville. ”
Adams, 65, confirmed his own arrest in
a prepared statement and described it as
a voluntary, prearranged inter view.
Police long had been expected to
question Adams about the 1972
killing of McConville, whom the IRA
executed as an alleged spy. According
to all authoritative histories of the Sinn
Adams ser ved as an IRA
commander for decades,
but he has always denied
holding any position in the
with killing a single mother,
the IRA did not admit the
killing until 1999, and
her unmarked grave was
discovered only by accident
near a Republic of Ireland
beach in 2003.
Adams was implicated
in the killing by two IRA veterans who
gave taped inter views to researchers for
a Boston College history archive on the
four-decade Northern Ireland conflict.
Belfast police took legal steps to acquire
the inter views, parts of which already
were published after the 2008 death of
one IRA inter viewee, Brendan Hughes.
The researchers fought unsuccessfully
to avoid handover of the tapes of the
second IRA inter viewee, Dolours Price,
who died last year.
In his inter view, Hughes, a reputed
long-time deputy to Adams within the
Belfast IRA, said McConville was killed
on Adams’s orders. Hughes said Adams
oversaw a special IRA unit committed to
identifying, killing and secretly burying
Belfast Catholic civilians suspected of
spying on behalf of the police or British
An independent investigation by
Northern Ireland’s police complaints
watchdog in 2006 found no evidence
that McConville had been a spy.
Adams suggested his arrest could be
“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.
The post-mortem examination of an inmate
who died, apparently of a heart attack, during
a botched execution was begun overnight
in Oklahoma, while Governor Mary Fallin
called for an investigation into what went
wrong in the death chamber.
Convicted murderer and rapist Clayton
Lockett died yesterday minutes after a doctor
had called a halt to the procedure because of
problems with the lethal injection, raising
questions about new death penalty cocktails
used by Oklahoma and other States.
The autopsy will examine the injection sites
on Lockett ’s arms and the toxicology of the
drugs in his system that were administered
in the lethal injection, according to medical
examiner’s spokeswoman Amy Elliott said.
Results of the autopsy could come within a
day at the earliest, while it may take several
months to complete the toxicology reports,
Witnesses to the execution said Lockett
clenched his jaw and fists a few minutes after
the drugs were injected and appeared to be
in pain. Prison officials covered the windows
to the death chamber soon after as it became
apparent there was trouble.
“ We believe that a vein was blown and
the drugs weren’t working as they were
designed to,” State Corrections Department
spokesman Jerry Massie said.
The governor told a news conference she
had called for investigations not only into
Lockett ’s cause of death, but into whether
the Department of Corrections followed
execution protocols and even the protocols
“An independent review of the Department
of Corrections procedures would be effective
and also appropriate,” Fallin told a news
Fallin also issued a 14-day stay for Charles
Warner, who was scheduled to be executed
two hours after Lockett. She said if the
review is not completed by the May 13
execution date for Warner, that date may
again be changed.
The White House said during a news
briefing overnight the Oklahoma execution
fell short of humane standards.
The executions of Lockett and Warner,
convicted in separate crimes, had been put
on hold for several weeks because of a legal
fight over a new lethal injection cocktail, with
lawyers arguing the State was withholding
crucial information about the drugs to be
Lawyers for death row inmates have argued
that the drugs used in Oklahoma and other
States could cause an unnecessarily painful
death, which would amount to cruel and
unusual punishment in violation of the
United States constitution.
Last week, the state Oklahoma Supreme
Court lifted stays of execution for Lockett
and Warner, saying the State had provided
them with enough information about the
lethal drug cocktail to meet constitutional
Oklahoma had set up a new procedure and
cocktail of chemicals earlier this year after it
was no longer able to obtain the drugs it had
once used for executions.
States have been scrambling to find new
suppliers and chemical combinations after
drug makers, mostly in Europe, imposed
sales bans because they objected to having
medications made for other purposes being
used in lethal injections.
Oklahoma uses three drugs in its new
mixture, which consists of midazolam to
bring on unconsciousness, vecuronium
bromide to stop respiration and potassium
chloride to stop the heart, the Department of
Lockett, 38, was convicted of first-degree
murder, rape, kidnapping and robbery in a
1999 crime spree in which he shot teenager
Stephanie Nieman and buried her alive in a
shallow grave where she eventually died.
Warner, 46, was convicted for the 1997
first-degree rape and murder of 11-month-
old Adrianna Waller, who was the daughter
of his then-girlfriend, Shonda Waller.
Bungled Oklahoma execution probe
Spain’s High Court declined
overnight to extradite to Argentina
a former policeman accused of
torturing prisoners during the Franco
In its ruling, the court said the
statute of limitations had run out on
the 13 accusations against Antonio
Gonzalez Pacheco, 67, who denies
torturing prisoners in Spain between
1971 and 1975, towards the end of
the 36-year rule of Francisco Franco.
Franco-era officials cannot be
prosecuted in Spain because of an
amnesty enacted when the country
returned to democracy in the late
So some victims brought charges
against Gonzalez, known as “Billy
the Kid”, last year in Argentina
where grave human rights crimes can
be pursued regardless of where in the
world they happened.
The Spanish High Court said the
alleged acts could be considered
torture but did not constitute a
crime against humanity because they
were not part of a “systematic and
organised attack on a (specific) group
within a population”.
There is no statute of limitations
on crimes against humanity under a
United Nations convention signed by
54 countries including Argentina but
In an extradition hearing in early
April, Gonzalez denied the charges.
One of his accusers, Jesus
nickname Billy the Kid came from
the fact he was “trigger-happy and
liked to show off his weapons,” El
The Argentinian judge, Maria
Ser vini, had also requested the
extradition of another Spanish
policeman accused of torture, but the
High Court rejected that petition
The UN urged Spain last October
to draw up a plan to search for those
who went missing under Franco and
recommended scrapping the amnesty
for political crimes committed during
the 1936-39 civil war and under
Spain responded by saying that the
amnesty would not be reviewed.
Spanish court rejects ‘Billy the Kid’ extradition bid
‘ Terrorists’ blamed
for blast, stabbings
Nuns kiss a statue of the late Pope John Paul II after it was unveiled in Sarajevo. The statue was erected in Sarajevo
overnight to honour the man who had persistently called for peace during the Bosnian war of the 1990s.
Bosnian capital honours Pope John Paul II
Sarajevo unveiled a statue of late
Pope John Paul II overnight to honour
his efforts to promote peace and
reconciliation during and after Bosnia’s
Sarajevo citizens of all faiths —
Bosniak Muslims, Catholic Croats and
Orthodox Serbs — fondly remember
the Pope, who was among the first to
recognise the new Bosnian State after
it proclaimed independence in 1992
John Paul visited the war-shattered
Bosnian capital in April 1997, ignoring
apparent assassination threats after
land mines were found on his route to
Sarajevo through territory dominated
by nationalist Serbs who had besieged
the capital in the war.
“D uring the war, the Pope’s messages
. . . were felt as the messages of hope
in the whole of Bosnia, and especially
in Sarajevo,” Bakir Izetbegovic, the
Muslim Bosniak member of the
country’s presidency, told a crowd that
came to pay respect.
The 3m tall statue placed in front of
the central Catholic Cathedral of Jesus
Heart is cast in an aluminium-based
alloy and shows the pope standing
with his head bowed in reflection.
John Paul returned to Bosnia in 2003
and visited the country’s autonomous
Serb Republic, dominated by Serbs
who fought Muslims and Croats
during the war.
Popes John Paul and John XXIII
were proclaimed as saints by Pope
Francis on Sunday at a ceremony in
St Peter’s Square attended by half a
million faithful. — Reuters
Three people were killed and
79 wounded in a bomb and
knife attack at a train station in
the far western region of China
overnight, State media said,
as President Xi Jinping was
wrapping up a vist to the area.
Xi promised “decisive actions”
against the “terrorists” behind
the attack in Xinjiang, a region
beset for years by violence the
government blames on Islamist
militants and separatists seeking
an independent state called East
Quoting police, Xinhua news
agency said “knife-wielding
mobs slashed people” at an exit
of the South Railway Station of
Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang
region, and set off explosives.
Pictures on China’s Twitter-
like Weibo site showed blood
on suitcases and debris on the
ground in front of the station.
Many posts carrying the images
were later removed by censors.
Xinhua said the station
reopened at 9pm (local time),
about two hours after the attack,
under heavy police presence. Four
people were seriously wounded
but were in stable condition.
It was not clear if Xi was still in
Xinjiang at the time of the attack,
at the end of his four-day visit
to the region during which he
stressed tough policing to fight
Responding to the attack,
he said: “ The battle to combat
violence and terrorism will not
allow even a moment of slackness,
and decisive actions must be
taken to resolutely suppress the
terrorists’ rampant momentum,”
Xi said the battle against
separatists would be “ long-term,
complicated and acute”.
Exiles and many rights groups
say the cause of unrest in the
resource-rich and strategically
located region is heavy-handed
conduct by authorities, including
curbs on Islam and the culture
and language of its Muslim
Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the
Germany-based World Uyghur
Congress exile group, said he
feared the incident would lead to
a new round of repression against
China’s ner vousness about
militancy, especially Islamic
militancy, has grown since a car
burst into flames on the edge
of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square
in October, and 29 people were
stabbed to death last month
in the south-western city of
Xinjiang militants for both
Uighurs have traditionally
followed a moderate form of
Islam but many have begun
commonly seen in Saudi Arabia
or Afghanistan, such as full-face
veils for women, as China has
intensified a security crackdown
in recent years. — Reuters
Indian man loses 158 straight elections
Indian shop owner K Padmarajan does
not feel like a loser. In fact, he sees much
to celebrate in the 158 times he has
stood for public office and failed.
Starting out in 1988, he had a point
to prove — to those who laughed at the
ambitions of a man who repaired tyres
for a living.
“Back then, I owned a cycle puncture
repair shop and a thought struck me
that I, an ordinary man with an ordinary
income and no special status in society,
could contest the elections,” he told AFP.
He lost. Then lost again and again.
Over 26 years, he has competed
hopelessly for local assembly seats and
parliament, often standing against big
names such as prime ministers A B
Vajpayee or Manmohan Singh.
In all, he says he has forfeited 1.2
million rupees ($21,639) in deposits
tendered in his lonely pursuit, in the
process earning a place in the India’s
Limca Book of Records.
“I have never contested an election to
win and the results just don’t matter to
me,” laughs the entrepreneur whose tyre
shop has flourished alongside his other
business, a homeopathic medical practice.
His best result came in 2011 when he
stood for an assembly seat in his home
constituency of Mettur in southern
Tamil Nadu state. He won 6273 votes,
raising the prospect that one day he
could be victorious.
“I ’m just someone who is very keen
on getting people to participate in the
electoral process and cast their vote
and this is just my means of generating
awareness on the same,” he added.
Next week, he will stand in Vadodara,
the constituency of election frontrunner
Narendra Modi in western Gujarat state,
which goes to the polls in the latest stage
of the country’s mammoth election.
Results on May 16 are expected to
confirm the return to power of Modi’s
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after 10
years in opposition in the 543-member
national parliament. — AFP
Strauss-Kahn suing sex club
The former head of the
International Monetary Fund
Dominique Strauss-Kahn plans
a legal challenge to a Belgian sex
club bearing his initials “DSK”.
The “DSKlub” opened overnight
employing six women and a
transsexual and is the invention
of Dominique Alder weireld,
generally known as “Dodo La
Saumure”, a play on words on the
slang for a pimp.
referred to as DSK, is a former
French finance minister and
was seen as a strong contender
for France’s 2012 presidential
election until a sexual assault
case in New York in 2011,later
dropped, brought his ambitions
to a halt.
“Mr Strauss-Kahn . . . will take
all judicial measures necessary to
end the damage to his name which
results from this,” a statement by
his Belgian lawyer said.
Alder weireld told Belgian
media his club’s name was not
meant as a reference to Strauss-
Kahn, with the initials standing
for “Dodo Sex Klub”. — Reuters
Ten soldiers and civilian staff at a
Russian military munitions depot
burned to death while fleeing a fire
that sparked a series of explosions, the
defence ministry says.
The fire broke out on Tuesday evening
at the storage facility at a military base
close to the village of Bolshaya Tura and
rescuers discovered the victims’ bodies
only yesterday morning.
“At dawn, as engineers examined the
grounds of the military base, a truck was
found within the arsenal with 10 people
who had died inside,” the head of the
ministry’s press ser vice, Major General
Igor Konashenkov, said.
He named the dead as the army officer
in charge of the depot, a drafted soldier
and eight civilian staff.
Authorities in the Zabaikalye region
said overnight 23 people were injured.
Over 1000 residents from the nearby
village of Bolshaya Tura were evacuated
and the rail line was temporarily closed.
10 die in ammunition depot fire
A 2m sinkhole has opened
under a major Queensland
highway, forcing it to be closed.
Road authorities will travel to
the Bruce Highway near Bowen
this morning to inspect damage
caused by the sinkhole, which
police say swallowed part of the
road last night.
“ It’s reportedly about 2m
and getting bigger,” a police
spokeswoman said. “ The highway
No one was hurt. An inland
diversion has been set up. —AAP
Snowden, who fled to Moscow
details of massive United
programmes, expects his asylum
status in Russia to be renewed
before it expires this summer, his
lawyer said overnight.
Snowden and documentary
film-maker Laura Poitras, who
worked with Snowden to reveal
NSA documents he took from
his job, were given the Ridenhour
Prize for Truth-Telling, an award
to promote transparency and
whistle-blowing, at a ceremony
appeared on a video link-up from
Russia and Poitras appeared from
Jesselyn Radack, a lawyer for
Snowden, said his temporary
asylum in Russia will expire at the
end of June but that “prospects
are good” for it to be renewed.
“O bviously, he misses America
and would like to be able to come
home,” she said. “ We just don’t
see that happening in the near
Snowden was believed to have
taken 1.7 million computerised
documents revealed massive
programmes run by the NSA
that gathered information on
e-mails, phone calls and internet
use by hundreds of millions of
Americans. The programmes also
had international reach, including
monitoring German Chancellor
Angela Merkel’s cellphone.
Snowden, who has appeared
around the world in similar
video link-ups this year, told a
crowd at the National Press Club
more laws are needed to protect
potential whistle-blowers in the
US. — Reuters
Sinkhole closes highway
German engineered and tested
to the equivalent of 20 years usage.
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