Gunman who shot Pope might be sent back to prison

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The Independent Online

Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish gunman who shot Pope John Paul II, might have been released from prison by mistake and might return to his cell to serve at least 11 more months, a newspaper said today, quoting the country's justice minister.

Justice Minister Cemil Cicek ordered a review of Agca's complicated case hours after the gunman was released from prison yesterday to see whether any errors were committed in freeing him amid strong criticism.

Agca would remain free until an appeals court reviewed the case.

"According to preliminary information, I think the critical point is for how long Agca served time in Italy," the Milliyet newspaper quoted Cicek as saying in an interview.

Cicek was quoted as saying that a local judge, who decided Agca's release, calculated he served "20 years," in Italy, but had not explicitly "stated dates when he entered and released from prison."

"We will find that out by examining his file, for example if he served 19 years and not 20 years, then Agca must serve one more year in Turkey," Cicek said.

Agca spent 19 years and one month in prison in Italy between the day he was captured after he shot the pope on May 13, 1981 in Rome and his extradition to Turkey on June 14, 2000.

According to that calculation, Agca must serve 11 more months in prison, the newspaper said.