ANKARA, Turkey – The man convicted of trying to assassinate Pope John Paul II and released from prison this week failed to report to police Saturday, Turkish media reported Saturday, but his lawyer insisted he was "a free person" who did not have to check in.
Mehmet Ali Agca has not been seen in public since his release Thursday, and failed to show up at a police station both Friday and Saturday despite a warning that a warrant could be issued for his arrest, Turkish television networks said.
Agca was released from an Istanbul prison after serving some 25 years in Italy and in Turkey for the assassination attempt on the pope and the killing of a prominent Turkish journalist.
Authorities said Agca, 48, was required to check in so officials could keep tabs on him until a military recruitment center decides whether he can be drafted. Agca was arrested on suspicion of dodging Turkey's draft but escaped a military prison in 1979.
Istanbul Gov. Muammer Guler said Friday that military officials may list Agca as a draft-dodger and ask for his arrest if he fails to show up by Monday, when he is required to report to a military hospital.
But Agca's lawyer, Mustafa Demirbag, told the Anatolia news agency that Agca "is a free person" who did not have to report regularly to authorities.
He said Agca was "undertaking all that is required concerning his military service and the hospital," but did not elaborate. Demirbag did not answer telephone calls from The Associated Press on Saturday.
Demirbag did not disclose Agca's whereabouts.
Agca spent 19 years and one month in prison in Italy between the day he was captured after he shot the pope on May 13, 1981, in St. Peter's Square in Rome, and his extradition to Turkey on June 14, 2000. He served the last five years in Turkey for murdering the Turkish journalist Abdi Ipekci in 1979.
Within hours of his release, Justice Minister Cemil Cicek ordered a review of Agca's case, and later told a Turkish newspaper that Agca may be returned to his cell to serve at least 11 more months for killing Ipekci.
Agca would remain free until an appeals court reviewed the case.