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Last Updated: Monday, 16 January 2006, 17:15 GMT
Pope gunman avoids military duty
Ali Agca
Ali Agca has served nearly 25 years in prison
The Turkish gunman who tried to kill Pope John Paul II in 1981 has been ruled unfit for military service.

Mehmet Ali Agca, 48, was freed last Thursday after nearly 25 years in prison for crimes including the attempted murder on the late pope.

He remained eligible for national service after being officially declared a draft dodger in 1980.

Agca could be returned to jail if he is found to have served inadequate time for murdering a Turkish journalist.

Doctors at Istanbul's main military hospital reached their decision after a series of physical and psychological tests on Agca, according to Turkish television.

Agca turned up at the hospital on Monday in what was his first public appearance since his release from a high-security Turkish jail.

It was not clear from reports why he was found to be unfit for military service, which is obligatory for Turkish men aged over 18.

He faces being returned to jail as judicial authorities examine whether he has served sufficient time for the murder of left-wing journalist Abdi Ipekci in 1979.

Justice Minister Cemil Cicek, who has ordered a review of Agca's release, suggested he could be returned to jail if any error had been made in calculating his sentence reductions.

Agca was freed after serving nearly 25 years in Italian and Turkish prisons for the assassination attempt on the pope in 1981, as well as for killing Ipekci and two armed robberies.


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