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Pope's would-be assassin denied release from prison

A Turkish court yesterday quickly rejected a request by Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turk who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981, for his early release from prison in light of recent legal amendments.

Agca's lawyer Dogan Yildirim told reporters outside the Istanbul court that he had asked the judges to set his client free, citing sentence reductions foreseen for some crimes under a major overhaul in September of the country's penal code.

Following his extradition from Italy in June 2000, Agca was sentenced to seven years and four months for armed robbery committed in the late 1970s, for which he is now serving time in an Istanbul jail.

His lawyers were arguing that he was eligible for early release as the new penal code, enacted to boost Turkey's bid for European Union membership, cuts down almost by half sentences for robbery.

Agca shot Pope John Paul II on 13 May 1981 in an assassination attempt. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in Italy, but was pardoned by President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi in June 2000. Agca was brought back to Turkey, where he was imprisoned for the murder of Ipekci.

Lawyers Of Agca Ask For His Release From Prison ( 8/11/04)
Turkish court refuses to release pope's would-be assassin from jail ( 8/11/04)

Early release likely for would-be papal assassin (CathNews 24/2/04)
Man who shot pope pardoned in Italy (CNN 13/6/00)
Mehmet Ali Agca (The 80s Server)

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9 Nov 2004