|Vatican||HOLY SEE DISCLOSES PAPAL INTERVENTION FOR RELEASE OF TURKISH GUNMAN|
Pope John Paul II personally intervened with Italian authorities to gain the release last month of the Turkish gunman who sought to kill him in 1981, a Vatican spokesman said on Sunday.|
John Paul wrote to Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi asking for a "gesture of clemency" for Mehmet Ali Agca, who was serving a life sentence in Italy for shooting the pope during a public appearance in St. Peter's Square.
The Vatican's interest in Agca's release was known, but the disclosure by Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls was the first confirmation that the pope himself had been involved.
Since Agca's release on 13 June and his extradition to Turkey to serve a sentence in another case, Agca, in a bizarre outburst, has accused the Vatican of being "the enemy of God" and humanity, and urged that John Paul resign.
|18 July 00|