Hearing Ends Of Alleged Agca Accomplice
BURGDORF, Switzerland (AP) _ A team of Italian judicial officials Tuesday ended questioning of a convicted Turkish drug smuggler and alleged member of a Turkish terrorist group on his connections with papal assailant Mehmet Ali Agca.
Mehmet Sener contradicted much of Agca’s testimony on the time and location of meetings with alleged co-conspirators in the Pope assassination attempt, said a Swiss judge who was present at the two-day hearing.
Italian press reports said prosecutors hoped the interrogation would help determine whether Ali Agca acted alone in the May 13, 1981 shooting or, as he claims, was part of a plot involving the Bulgarian secret service and the Gray Wolves, a group of rightist terrorists.
Sener refused to appear as a witness in Agca’s Rome trial, said the Swiss judge, Burgdorf investigating magistrate Fabio Righetti. Sener said he feared his testimony would be used aganst him, said Righetti.
The judge said he expected Italian authorities to demand Sener’s extradition so he can appear at the trial.
The hearing was held under an international judicial assistance agreement, according to the Swiss justice ministry. The Italian team was led by Rome judge Severino Santiapichi.
Sener has been in Swiss custody since 1982, when he was arrested on a Turkish warrant charging him with instigating Ali Agca’s 1979 murder of a Turkish newspaper editor. Agca was convicted and imprisoned for that murder, but escaped, and turned up in Rome when he tried to assassinate the pope.
After the Swiss refused extradition, a court last May sentenced Sener to five years in prison for bringing heroin into Switzerland and trying to sell it in the early 1980s.