ITALY: Catholics around the Vatican have mixed reactions as the man who shot a Pope is jailed.Record ID: 687520
- Title: ITALY: Catholics around the Vatican have mixed reactions as the man who shot a Pope is jailed.
- Date: 21st January 2006
- Summary: DOME OF ST. PETER'S AND CHRISTMAS TREE PEOPLE WALKING IN FRONT OF BASILICA
- Reuters ID: LVAEPRYJJBR1SSV8BTG2GRGP2XNS
- Location: Italy
- Country: Italy
- Duration: 00:00:09
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Religion
- Story Text: Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981, was jailed on Friday (January 20) after Turkey's Supreme Court overturned a lower court's decision to release him.
Following the ruling, security forces seized Agca from an address on the Asian side of Istanbul and took him to police headquarters in the European half of Turkey's largest city.
Agca was put in an Istanbul prison after health checks and completion of his procedures.
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 right-wing gangster had served 19 years in an Italian prison for the assassination attempt before being pardoned at the Pope's behest in 2000.
Around the heart of Catholicism -- the Vatican -- reactions were mixed.
"It's ridiculous, it is really pitiful. Well, if this is how politics works over there (in Turkey)," said Silvia Mereu, who came from the island of Sardinia to visit the Vatican.
"From the Christian point of view, we have settled our accounts with Ali Agca as John Paul II forgave him. Justice has to do its course, whatever that is," said Father Giusto, a Roman Catholic priest.
Pope John Paul II visited Ali Agca in an Italian jail in 1983 and forgave him.
Father Giusto's point of view was echoed by a Mexican tourist.
I think he shouldn't do any more time in jail, from the Christian point of view, the Pope forgave him," said Julio.
"Undoubtedly, there are interests that we don't know about regarding why he was taken again to prison," said Sister Carmen, a Bolivian nun who teaches in an Italian grammar school. "As well as behind the fact that they freed him before time, in the first place. It was strange."
After serving his time in an Italian prison, Agca was then extradited to Turkey to serve a separate sentence in an Istanbul jail for the 1979 murder of liberal newspaper editor Abdi Ipekci and charges dating from the 1970s.
Under new Turkish laws, his time served in Italy was initially deducted from the 25 years left on his sentence in Turkey.
But the Supreme Court ruled against this.
His motives for shooting the Pope remain a mystery. Over the years Agca has given conflicting reasons for opening fire among crowds in Rome's St. Peter's Square in 1981.
Allegations that he was a hitman for Soviet-era East European security services alarmed by the Polish-born Pontiff's fierce opposition to communism have never been proven.
A former Italian magistrate, who investigated the shooting, says Agca could now be in danger as he knows too many secrets.
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