ANKARA, Turkey (AP):
A MILITARY hospital yesterday declared the Turkish man who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981 unfit for mandatory military service, ending days of speculation that the draft dodger could be conscripted following his release from prison.
Hiding his face with a beret, Mehmet Ali Agca made his first appearance in public since he vanished hours after his release from a high-security prison last week.
It remained unclear, however, whether his freedom after being imprisoned for 25 years in Italy and Turkey would be short-lived. Agca still faced the threat of returning to his cell amid questions over whether he served enough time in prison for killing a prominent Turkish journalist.
Agca, 48, had not been seen in public since his release last Thursday, although authorities said they had intelligence about his whereabouts. He had ignored orders to report to a police station, which he was required to do while the military decided on his draft status.
Upon his exit from the hospital, Agca again slipped away in a speeding car. A few vehicles carrying journalists in hot pursuit had minor accidents as they tried to chase him.