Pope's attacker gets 7 years for robberies


A Turkish court yesterday sentenced Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who tried to kill the Pope, to seven years in jail for two robberies in the 1970s.

Agca will have the new sentence added to the nine years he has left on a sentence he is currently serving in Istanbul's high-security Kartal prison for the 1979 killing of journalist Abdi Ipekci.

The court handed Agca 36 years in jail for robbing a taxi and a soft drinks depot but reduced the sentence to seven years and two months to take into account good behaviour and time already served.

An enigmatic figure who once claimed to be Jesus Christ, Agca was returned to Turkey in June after a pardon from Italy, where he served 19 years for shooting Pope John Paul. Turkey's government says it will push ahead with a limited prison amnesty that might include Agca, despite the fact that the President has already vetoed the law.

Legal complications with a previous amnesty might prevent Agca from benefiting from the next one, depending on the form it takes if it can be steered past the President.