The man who tried to murder Pope John Paul II will reportedly soon be released from jail. Mehmet Ali Agca could be free within a week, according to Turkey’s state-run Anatolian news agency. He has spent recent years behind bars in his homeland – serving an unconnected sentence for robbery and murder.
But Agca is better known as the would-be assassin of the late Pope John Paul II. The attempt on the pontiff’s life took place in St Peter’s Square in May 1981.
The Polish Pope was shot several times and seriously wounded. Agca’s motives remain a mystery. Claims that Bulgarian and Soviet secret services were involved have never been proved.
Sentenced to life imprisonment in Italy, Agca was visited in jail by the Pope who publicly forgave him. This was instrumental in securing a pardon for the gunman in 2000.
Agca was then extradited to Turkey to begin a separate jail term for crimes including the murder of a newspaper editor in the 1970s, for which he had been convicted in absentia.