The Turk who attempted to kill Pope John Paul II in 1981, Mehmet Ali Agca, was freed from prison after almost three decades behind bars, keeping his motive shrouded in mystery.
In a statement distributed by his lawyer, he said: “I proclaim the end of the world. All the world will be destroyed in this century. Every human being will die in this century.”
He signed off as “the Christ eternal,” in keeping with past claims that he is the Messiah.
He was taken to a Turkish military hospital where doctors concluded that he was unfit for compulsory military service because of a “severe anti-social personality disorder,” said his lawyer, Yilmaz Abosoglu. He was then driven to a hotel, where he was to spend his first night of freedom.
Agca, who described himself in his letter as “sane and strong both physically and psychologically”, has reportedly sought $2m for an exclusive television interview and $5m for two books, including his autobiography. He has also written to Dan Brown, the author of the bestselling The Da Vinci Code, about a book entitled The Vatican Code, to be followed by a film.
He said in his letter: “My plan is to proclaim the end of the world and to write the PERFECT GOSPEL ... I will proclaim the Perfect Christianity that Vatican has never understood.” He did not say whether he would speak about the shooting of John Paul.
Arrested just after the shooting, Agca at first named three Bulgarians as his accomplices, saying he had been paid $1.2m. But at their trial he declared himself Jesus Christ and they were acquitted.