Pope gunman faces expulsion from Italy

Mehmet Ali Agca ordered to be expelled after placing flowers on tomb of Polish Pope John Paul II, who he tried to assassinate in 1981

Mehmet Ali Agca ordered to be expelled after placing flowers on tomb of Polish Pope John Paul II, who he tried to assassinate in 1981

ROME – Attempted papal assassin and Turkish national Mehmet Ali Agca has been ordered to be expelled from Italy after he entered the country to place flowers on the tomb of Pope John Paul II who he tried to kill in 1981, according to judicial officials.

Agca, a former member of the Turkish ultra-far-wing militant group Gray Wolves, was held by police after visiting St. Peter’s Basilica on Saturday where Pope John Paul II is buried.

A magistrate ordered Agca to be expelled as he had entered Italy without a visa, judicial sources said on Monday.

Agca shot and seriously wounded the Polish pope in St Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981, and was sentenced to life imprisonment in Italy.

He was pardoned by then-Italian president Carlo Azeglio Ciampi in June 2000 years after the Pope said he had "sincerely forgiven" him and deported to Turkey.

Agca told la Repubblica newspaper that he reached Italy through Greece and Austria "with the help of a few friends … Turkish and foreigners, but not Italians".

- Mysterious disappearance

Lawyers for relatives acting for Emanuela Orlandi, a Vatican City citizen and schoolgirl who mysteriously vanished in June 1983, had asked authorities to detain Agca in Italy so he could be interrogated about the affair.

Agca had previously claimed in a prison interview with Italian state broadcaster RAI that Orlandi had been kidnapped by Bulgarian agents of the Gray Wolves, a Turkish ultra-nationalist, neo-fascist youth organization of which Agca was a member.

Although he denied knowing directly about the girl's fate, he claimed she was alive and living in a convent.

Orlandi, the daughter of a Vatican bank employee, was a pupil at a scientific high school in Rome when she disappeared.

Agca was sentenced to life imprisonment in Italy in July 1981 for the Papal assassination attempt and later imprisoned in Turkey for the 1979 murder of left-wing journalist Abdi Ipekci and for two bank raids carried out in the 1970s.

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