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January 18, 2010
Turkey frees man who attempted to kill pope John Paul II

A statue of Pope John Paul II in Krakow. Photo: Flickr user EGA

The man who shot Pope John Paul II nearly 29 years ago at St. Peter’s Square was set free today in Turkey.

Mehmet Ali Agca was released from a prison on the outskirts of Ankara and taken away in a motorcade.

In 1983, two years after his incarceration, the pontiff visited Agca and forgave him for the shooting.

Yet, authorities are unsure what motivated the assassination attempt. Agca, said to be mentally unstable, told reporters today that he is a messenger of God and that the world will end this century.

Should Agca have been imprisoned for the rest of his life?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below. Please be respectful and on-point. Malicious or offensive comments will be deleted, and repeat offenders will be banned.

For more Worldfocus coverage of Turkey, visit our extended coverage page: Turkey between East and West.

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Comments

22 comments

#22

29 years is a long, long time. We can’t forever imprison the mentally ill, even those with a violent past.

#21

I would be in favor of his release except he can’t be counted on to get treatment for his obvious remaining mental illness–

#20

Wow !….WHAT another mentally unstable …nut or terrorist let go unto the Wind.. ! THERE HE Blow’s

#19

I,believe acga should be free,he paid his dues,he spend his best years in prison,but does need psychiatry help,to get his life back on track…

#18

The laws of the country where the crime is committed determine the fate of the accused. Public opinion is irrelevant.

#17

He should have been given a medal not imprisonment.
Pope John Paul: was one of the greatest evils in all of history. His systematic destruction of the popular church and Liberation Theologists constitutes a war crime, a crime against humanity and genocide. He should be tried in absentia and all of the church’s property and wealth should be transferred to the poor people of Latin America that he persecuted and betrayed so utterly.

#16

He shouldn’t be locked up for life. First, he was mentally unstable. Secondly, the pop himself visited and forgave the assassin while he was in prison. There is no reason to keep him in jail and waste the tax payers (Turkish) money. I strongly believe every individual should have been given one more chance for whatever crime s/he commited, and as a human being, all of us should have compassions.

#15

Being mentally ill does not justify keeping this man in jail for the rest of his life. However, in a world where we are keenly aware of terrorist whose motives are irrational and based in extremist views and also to some extent reflective of the views of mentally ill persons, it is
completely necessary that this person’s name be on a special watch list. Further, the government of Turkey needs to make sure that this person be channeled to mental treatment as his extremist views could be a danger to others world wide.

#14

Being mentally ill does not justify keeping this man in jail for the rest of his life. However, in a world where we are keenly aware of terrorist whose motives are irrational and based in extremist views and also to some extent reflective of the views of mentally ill persons, it is
completely necessary that this person’s name be on a special watch list, and further that the government of Turkey make sure that this person be channeled to mental treatment as his extremist views could be a danger to others world wide.

#13

Being mentally ill does not justify keeping this man in jail for the rest of his life. However, in a world where we are keenly aware of terrorist whose motives are irrational and based in extremist views and also to some extent reflective the views of mentally ill persons, it is
completely necessary that this person’s name be on a special watch list, and further that the government of Turkey make sure that this person be channeled to mental treatment as his extremist views could be a danger to others world wide.

#12

Yes, he should have been imprisoned for life. He should also have received psychiatric care in prison.

#11

One of the basic tenets of Christianity is redemption and forgiveness especially when there is speculation of mental illness. I believe that the right thing was done and if he is deemed ill, he should be treated rather that be locked up for the rest of his life.
Again I also believe WorldFocus should dwell on more substantative discussions rather that dumbing down its audience with such trivial questions.

#10

No, he needs to be mental help.

#9

He killed a reporter befor shooting the Pope, he should be held in prison for life

#8

Until the Turkish govt can provide care as in the Hinckley Case, I believe a person who is mentally unstable should be held in prison. He can only wreak havoc on innocent people when released. However, Turkey has a history of Horrendous treatment of people who do minor infractions. So what else is new.

#7

Obviously, many do not take mental health seriously. Why were all the asylums closed? The people on the street need them. Now they’re called “homeless shelters.”
If America and its allies are true to their people, they’ll figure out how to treat the ill.

#6

Get your facts strait!
He was set free in Italy for the attemted murder on the Pope not in Turkey. In Turkey he was taken into the prison after that for the murder of a Journalist.

#5

I think it is appropriate to release Mehmet Ali Agca. I oppose the Life “Without Parole” sentence and the concept behind it. A big reason is the safety of prison staff and the extra costs to taxpayers for no visible gain. Harsh punishments are no deterrent to any crime. This fellow appears to be a real looney-tunes type but we need more civilized places to keep humans, not locked forever in iron bar cages. As Mehmet Ali Agca demonstrated, predicting the end of the world, most prisoners will ultimately be released. We don’t need to create more monsters than we already have.

A society is well measured by how it treats its helpless.

#4

Is World Focus so desperate for news issues that you have come to ask such trivial questions as this? Or how we “feel” about the tragedy in Haiti? Surely you can do better than this.

#3

He should be treated the same as John Hinkley is treated.

#2

No, he is mentally unstable. He needs professional help, not to be incarcerated for a murder he did not even accomplish over 25 ears ago.

#1

Indeed he should have been in for life. If that is the worst he could of gotten.

Alistair Mckay

Toronto, Canada

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