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Archive for Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Pope gunman surfaces, found unfit for military

January 17, 2006

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— A military hospital pronounced the Turk who shot Pope John Paul II unfit for military service, ending days of speculation over whether 48-year-old Mehmet Ali Agca would be forced to serve.

Agca hid his face behind a beret as he entered the grounds of the military hospital in a car - his first public appearance since he vanished hours after his release from a high-security prison last week.

His lawyer, Mustafa Demirbag, told private NTV television that Agca did not undergo any medical examination and that the hospital pronounced him unfit for military service because he had served more than five years of "heavy" prison time.

Details of the decision were not available. But there have been long-standing questions about the mental health of Agca, who has been known for frequent outbursts and claims that he was the Messiah.

When he left the hospital, Agca slipped away again in a speeding car.

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