ANKARA. The man who tried to kill Pope John Paul II nearly 30 years ago was released from a Turkish prison yesterday, rekindling the mystery over whether he acted alone or had been hired by a Soviet-era secret service.


Within hours of being freed, Mehmet Ali Agca was examined by doctors who declared him mentally unbalanced and exempt from military service, his lawyers said.


Agca served 19 years in an Italian prison for the attack, before being pardoned on the pope’s initiative in 2000; but he was extradited to serve a term in his home country for other crimes including the 1979 murder of a news-paper editor.