Gunman wants to write new Bible

2010-01-24 14:35
Zagreb - The Turkish man who attempted to kill pope John Paul II in 1981 has said he wants political asylum in staunchly Catholic Croatia, where he plans to write a new Bible, a local daily reported on Sunday.

"If Croatia gives me political asylum, I would be glad to come and live in Croatia," Mehmet Ali Agca said in a message delivered through his lawyers to the influential Vecernji List daily.

"Croatia is a Catholic country and I am a Catholic.

"I am preparing to write a new Bible and correct mistakes and I would like to do that in Catholic Croatia since Italy and Spain refused to grant me asylum," the daily quoted the 52-year-old as saying.

Almost 90% of Croatia's population of 4.4 million are Roman Catholics.

Croatian officials were not immediately available to comment on the report.

Agca was released from a Turkish prison earlier this month after serving nearly three decades behind bars. In rambling letters from prison, he had fed suggestions he is mentally disturbed.

Agca recently said in a written statement through his lawyers that he would prove he is the Messiah through Vatican documents.

He was a 23-year-old militant of the notorious far-right Grey Wolves movement, on the run from Turkish justice, when he surfaced in Saint Peter's Square on May 13, 1981, and fired on the pope, seriously wounding him.

The motive for the attack, which landed Agca in an Italian prison, remains a mystery.

Extradited to Turkey in 2000 after Italy pardoned him, Agca was convicted of the murder of prominent journalist Abdi Ipekci, two armed robberies and escaping from prison, crimes all dating back to the 1970s.

His lawyers have said that Agca has received several offers from abroad and at home for books, films and documentaries.
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