Was Ordered to Kill Walesa, Too, Agca Says
Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who shot Pope John Paul II, testified today that Bulgarian agents ordered him to kill Polish labor hero Lech Walesa and the leaders of Tunisia and Malta before the 1981 papal assassination attempt.
The 27-year-old Agca, already serving a life sentence for shooting and seriously wounding the Polish-born pontiff May 13, 1981, is the state’s star witness and one of eight defendants on trial for conspiring to kill the Pope. Four fellow Turks and three Bulgarians are also standing trial.
Agca told the court Tuesday that the papal attack was carried out on orders issued from the Soviet Union and relayed through the Soviet Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria. (Story on Page 11.) Moscow denied the accusation, saying Agca has lied from the start of the investigation.
Bourguiba and Mintoff
Today, Agca’s testimony centered on what he said was a Bulgarian-directed plot to assassinate Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba and Maltese Prime Minister Dom Mintoff and a planned car bomb attack against Walesa.
Agca said the Bulgarians intended to kill Walesa, founder of the now-banned Solidarity union, in a car bomb attack while the Nobel Peace Prize laureate was in Rome in January, 1981, as a guest of Italy’s Socialist-leaning Union of Italian Workers labor union.
He said they planned to kill Walesa in front of the foreign press room where he was holding an international news conference. The attack, however, was canceled because the Italian secret services learned of the plot, he said.
In an earlier deposition, Agca said the plan was to assassinate Walesa at his hotel.