(RNS) Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish man who tried to assassinate St. John Paul II in 1981, was expelled from Italy on Monday (Dec. 29) after paying a visit to the tomb of the Polish pontiff.
An Italian judge on Monday approved the expulsion of the former terrorist; he was scheduled to be sent back to Istanbul on a Turkish Airlines flight from Rome Monday night, police sources told the Italian news agency, ANSA.
Agca’s expulsion came two days after he placed flowers on the late pope’s tomb in St. Peter’s Basilica on Saturday.
Agca, 56, served 19 years for his crime in Italy, where John Paul famously visited him in prison. He was then deported to his native Turkey, where he served further time for the murder of left-wing journalist Abdi Ipekci, who was killed in 1979.
“I would like to go to the tomb of John Paul II, who visited me in prison,” Agca told ANSA earlier this month. “I couldn’t go to his funeral so I would like to pay my respects to a spiritual brother.”