Mehmet Ali Agca, a Turkish man who attempted to kill the late pope John Paul II in 1981, is due to be set free on Thursday after a Turkish court approved his release saying that the man had completed his sentence.
The Istanbul jail, where Agca had been imprisoned since 1981, handed over the document to the Istanbul court, who then issued a statement saying, Agca, aged 48, had served his term. Agca spent 19 years in Italian prisons for seriously wounding John Paul II before being returned to Turkey in 2000.
He was a 23-year-old far-right militant on the run from the Turkish police when he opened fire on the pope at St. Peter's Square in Rome on May 13, 1981 as the head of the Roman Catholic Church headed for an audience in an open vehicle.
The pope later met him in prison and forgave him for the assassination attempt, whose motive remains a mystery. The suspected involvement of then communist Bulgaria and Soviet intelligence was never proven.