Vatican not Stasi behind Pope murder bid: Agca

31st March 2005, Comments 0 comments

31 March 2005, BERLIN - East Germany's notorious Stasi secret police was not involved in Turkish militant Mehmet Ali Agca's 1981 attempt to kill Pope John Paul II, an official in Germany said on Thursday.

31 March 2005

BERLIN - East Germany's notorious Stasi secret police was not involved in Turkish militant Mehmet Ali Agca's 1981 attempt to kill Pope John Paul II, an official in Germany said on Thursday.

Agca made this and other claims in an interview with La Repubblica newspaper published on Thursday in which he also claimed he had had accomplices within the Vatican.

Christian Booss, spokesman for the Stasi Documents Centre in Berlin, said there was no documentary evidence to support the claim by Agca.

"We have absolutely no knowledge or evidence of any link between the East German secret police and the attempt on the pope's life," Booss said.

"The documents we have on file also do not support claims of any involvement by either Bulgarian secret agents or the Soviet KGB", he said.

Agca, who was pardoned in Italy in 2000 but jailed in Turkey on his return over a killing prior to the papal assassination bid, said in the newspaper interview: "The devil is also behind the walls of the Vatican."

He continued: "The Vatican bears responsibility for the attack on the pope. Without the help of some priests and cardinals I could not have done it."

Agca shot the pontiff in St. Peter's Square on 13 May 1981, severely wounding him in the stomach.

The motive for the attack has never been fully revealed, with some theories suggesting that it was ordered by the KGB and carried out by the Bulgarian secret service, who contracted Agca as gunman.

Agca's own explanations have failed to shed light on the background to the crime and have frequently been contradictory.

DPA

Subject: German news

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