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Pope John Paul II shooter released from Turkish prison

[JURIST] Mehmet Ali Agca [Wikipedia profile], a Turkish man who shot Pope John Paul II [official website; JURIST news archive] in 1981, was released from a Turkish prison Thursday to cheers from a crowd of nationalist supporters. After serving 20 years in an Italian jail, Agca was extradited to Turkey to serve five additional years in prison for the previous murder of Turkish journalist Abdi Ipekci [profile]. Last week, a Turkish court decided to release Agca on parole [JURIST report]. Some Turks, including Ipekci's family, denounced the release [BBC report], calling Agca a "national assassin" who had stained the country's reputation. Others, including two men who hijacked an Air Malta airliner to demand Agca's release, praised the decision. Agca may still face charges [JURIST report] for evading military service or be forced to enlist in the military, which accepts conscripts under the age of 41. AP has more.

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