Brezhnev ordered murder of John Paul II: report

2nd March 2006, Comments 0 comments

2 March 2006, ROME - Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish man who shot and seriously wounded Pope John Paul II in 1981, acted with the complicity of Bulgarian and East German secret agents, who were in turn obeying orders imparted directly by former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, an Italian parliamentary commission report claims.

2 March 2006

ROME - Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish man who shot and seriously wounded Pope John Paul II in 1981, acted with the complicity of Bulgarian and East German secret agents, who were in turn obeying orders imparted directly by former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, an Italian parliamentary commission report claims.

According to the report, extracts of which were published on Thursday in Italian newspapers, Brezhnev asked the Soviet Union's Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, to eliminate the Polish-born pontiff because of his opposition to Communism in Eastern Europe.

The GRU was a secret body independent of the KGB and charged with handling the country's military intelligence.

"This commission believes, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the heads of the Soviet Union took the initiative of eliminating Pope Karol Wojtyla, and that they conveyed this decision to the GRU," commission head Paolo Guzzanti was quoted as saying.

"The GRU was instructed to carry out all of the necessary operations required to carry out a murder whose seriousness is unparalleled in modern history," the report claims.

The report by Italy's Mitrokhin commission - named after the KGB archivist who spilled the beans on Soviet espionage activities in the West - argues that Bulgarian agents were used as a cover up while Stasi officials from East Germany were told to derail the official investigation into the attempted murder by supplying false information to the media.

The commission confirmed the existence of the so-called "Bulgarian connection" by establishing the presence in St. Peter's Square of Sergei Antonov, a Bulgarian working in Rome for Balkan Air who was arrested in connection with the attempted murder and eventually found not guilty for want of evidence, in 1986.

The Soviet connection has never been proven in court.

Agca, who shot John Paul in Rome's St. Peter's Square on May 13, 1981, was found guilty of the attempted murder and is currently in prison in Turkey.

DPA

Subject: German news

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