Sunday, January 17, 2010

Man Who Attempted To Murder Pope John Paul II Due To Be Released

January 18, 2010
ANKARA -- The Turkish man who shot and seriously wounded Pope John Paul nearly 30 years ago is expected to be released from prison today.

Mehmet Ali Agca, now 52 years old, is due to be released from a high-security prison near the Turkish capital, Ankara.

His lawyer, Haci Ali Ozhan, said on January 17 that following his release, Agca may be taken by authorities to a Turkish military facility for a medical check before potential service in the Turkish military.

Agca was said to be a militant linked to the far-right Turkish Grey Wolves organization when, at the age of 23, he opened fire on the pope on May 13, 1981, in St. Peter's Square in Rome.

No clear motive for the attack has ever emerged.

Pope John Paul met and forgave Agca for the assassination attempt in 1983 while Agca was serving a 19-year-sentence in an Italian prison.

After he served that sentence, he was transferred to Turkey to serve a 10-year sentence for killing a Turkish journalist in 1979.

from agency reports

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