January 18, Istanbul, Turkey
Almost three decades after he shot and wounded Pope John Paul II, Mehmet Ali Agca walked free from prison on Monday, heading to a luxury hotel and proclaiming himself to be “Christ eternal.”
Mr. Agca, 52, spent 19 years in Italian prisons and was then sent to his native Turkey to finish a 10-year term for the murder of a Turkish newspaper editor.
“His release is like a rebirth,” said his lawyer, Gokay Gultekin. “He has a lot to catch up with, like computers, the Internet and other devices that did not exist back in the 1980s. But before all that, he needs a vacation.”
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, had no comment. John Paul publicly forgave Mr. Agca. He died in 2005.
Mr. Agca shot the pope on May 13, 1981, wounding him in the abdomen, left hand and right arm. He has never explained his motives. He suggested that the K.G.B. and Bulgarian intelligence were involved, but later disowned those claims. He had links to a Turkish ultranationalist group, the Gray Wolves.
Interestingly, there's been little outrage over his release. He is even permitted to re-join society. I wonder if this trend will continue?