VARIOUS: Mehmet Ali Agca back in custody after Turkey's Supreme Court reverses lower court decision to...
- Title: VARIOUS: Mehmet Ali Agca back in custody after Turkey's Supreme Court reverses lower court decision to release him.
- Date: 21st January 2006
- Summary: (W4) ANKARA, TURKEY (JANUARY 20, 2006) (REUTERS) EXTERIORS OF COURT AT NIGHT WITH MEDIA GATHERED (2 SHOTS) VARIOUS OF THE WRITTEN STATEMENT BY THE SUPREME COURT REVERSING LOWER COURT DECISION (2 SHOTS)
- Reuters ID: LVA2XKFOB9C8AICZP44ZO9D7CEJH
- Duration: 00:00:24
- Aspect Ratio:
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Religion
- Story Text: Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981, is set to return to jail after Turkey's Supreme Court on Friday (January 20) overturned a lower court's decision to release him.
After the ruling security forces seized Agca from an address in Istanbul and took him to police headquarters.
"I am the messiah," Agca called out in Turkish, English and Italian as police officers dragged him in handcuffs through a crowd of cameramen and photographers into the security complex.
The Justice Ministry had appealed against the move to release Agca from prison last week after he had served more than 25 years behind bars in Italy and Turkey.
The 48-year-old former gangster had served 19 years in an Italian prison for the assassination attempt on the Pope before being pardoned at the pontiff's behest in 2000. The Pope visited Agca in jail in 1983.
Agca was later extradited to Turkey to serve a separate sentence in an Istanbul jail for the murder in 1979 of liberal newspaper editor Abdi Ipekci and other charges dating from the 1970s.
Under new Turkish laws, Agca's time served in Italy was initially deducted from the 25 years left on his sentence in Turkey, but the Supreme Court disagreed with this interpretation.
"There is no legal foundation for deducting Agca's time spent in prison in Italy from the punishments for crimes which he committed in Turkey," the court said in a written statement.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said the court was obliged to make that decision.
"I believe he (Agca) will be taken to prison tomorrow and then what will need to be done will be done," said Erdogan.
Istanbul city governor Muammer Guler said Agca had been arrested by security forces soon after the decision was issued and taken to the city's police headquarters.
A columnist with the Turkish newspaper 'Radical', Murat Yetkin, said the decision sent a strong message to the lower court.
"The Supreme Court rejected the decision of the court which released Agca from prison, clearly stating that it was a wrong calculation and such amnesty laws that the decision of the court cannot be used and the Supreme Court decision was taken unanimously so it is a strong message regarding the mistake of judiciary," said Yetkin.
The lower court must now calculate how much more time Agca should serve in prison.
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