Man Who Shot Pope John Paul Freed

Agca promises to reveal truth behind shooting, claims to be messiah
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2010 12:00 AM CST
Mehmet Ali Agca, who shot Pope John-Paul II in Rome in 1981, arrives a hotel after he was released from prison in Ankara, Turkey, yesterday.    (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
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(Newser) – The Turkish man who shot and wounded Pope John Paul II in 1981 was freed yesterday after nearly 30 years in jail and has promised to tell the full story about the assassination attempt. Mehmet Ali Agca claimed after the shooting that Soviet agents were behind the attack—a theory believed by Italian magistrates and Vatican officials—but he later withdrew his remarks, the Guardian reports.

Italy pardoned Agca in 2000 but he was re-arrested on his return to Turkey for other crimes, including the 1979 murder of a left-wing journalist. He was taken to a military hospital to be assessed for compulsory service as soon as he was released, although lawyers believe his mental health issues will make military service unlikely for the 52-year-old. "I proclaim the end of the world. All the world will be destroyed in this century," Agca said in a statement issued by his lawyer. "Every human being will die in this century. I am the Christ eternal."

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