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Relatives of Man Who Shot Pope Declare Hunger Strike


Relatives of the man who shot Pope John Paul II almost 25 years ago have declared a hunger strike, to protest his re-arrest in Turkey last week.

Mehmet Ali Agca was released from a Turkish prison January 12. However, last Friday, a Turkish appeals court ruled that he must serve additional time for murdering a Turkish journalist in 1979 and for other crimes.

Agca's sister said Wednesday that the relatives, including Agca's ailing mother and 14 others, plan to starve themselves if Agca is not released. The sister said Agca suffers from a psychological disorder as a result of his imprisonment.

Agca served 19 years in an Italian prison for the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul. He was pardoned in 2000 at the pontiff's request, and was extradited to Turkey to serve a prison term for the other crimes.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

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