Turkey to free gunman who shot pope in 1981

January 8, 2006 20:16

A Turkish court has approved the release of the man who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981, saying he has completed his prison term, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported Sunday. Turkish citizen Mehmet Ali Agca, 46, was extradited to Turkey in 2000 after serving almost 20 years in prison in Italy for shooting and wounding the pope in St. Peter's Square in Rome. His motives for the attack remain unclear. Agca was expected to be released as early as Monday, Anatolia added. Agca, a draft-dodger, was expected to be immediately enlisted by the military for obligatory military service, Anatolia said. Upon his return to Turkey, Agca was sent to prison to serve a 10-year sentence for murdering Turkish journalist Abdi Ipekci in 1979. He was separately sentenced to seven years and four months for two robberies in Turkey the same year.

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