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Gunman Who Shot Pope in 1981 Wants to Attend Funeral

The Turkish man who tried to assassinate Pope John Paul in 1981 has asked Turkish authorities to briefly allow him out of prison to attend the pope's funeral.

Mehmet Ali Agca's lawyer Mustafa Demirbag said Tuesday that he has applied to the Justice Ministry for a short compassionate leave.

On Sunday, Agca said from his Istanbul jail cell that he had lost, in his words, his "spiritual brother" and was grief stricken over the pontiff's death.

Agca gravely wounded John Paul in the 1981 shooting in Saint Peter's Square. Two years later, the pope visited Agca in the Italian prison where he served 19 years and forgave him.

In 2000, Agca was extradited to Istanbul where he is serving out a 17-year sentence for earlier crimes committed in Turkey.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP and AFP.