Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has denounced a “sustained malicious, untruthful and sinister campaign” against him alleging his involvement in the murder of Jean McConville.
The 65-year-old politician was speaking after being released without charge by police, having been questioned at Antrim police station, in Northern Ireland, since Wednesday.
Mr Adams was arrested after voluntarily presenting himself for interview with detectives.
He vehemently denies allegations levelled by former republican colleagues that he ordered Mrs McConville’s murder and secret burial more than 40 years ago after she was wrongly accused of passing information to the security forces.
He said: “Let me be very clear – I am innocent of any involvement in any conspiracy to abduct, kill or bury Mrs McConville. I have worked hard with others to have this injustice redressed and for the return of the bodies of others killed during the conflict and secretly buried by the IRA, and I will continue to do so.”
The Belfast mother-of-ten was dragged from her children in west Belfast by a gang before being interrogated, shot in the head and then secretly buried in 1972. Her body was found in 2003.
Mr Adams’s detention triggered a major political row, with Sinn Fein accusing an anti-peace process “rump” within the Police Service of Northern Ireland of orchestrating the arrest in a bid to sabotage the party’s chances in upcoming elections. The PSNI has denied this, stating it was fulfilling its “duty to make relevant inquiries”.