The World

Two Bulgarian diplomats, Todor Aivazov and Zhelyo Vassilev, told Italian court officials that they were not involved in the 1981 plot to kill Pope John Paul II. The diplomats, who were assigned to the Bulgarian Embassy in Rome when the Pope was shot on May 13, 1981, testified in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, in the final phase of the trial of themselves, another Bulgarian and four Turks charged in the shooting. The trial began last May in Rome and is based largely on the testimony of Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turk who is serving a life sentence for shooting the Pope. Only three of the seven defendants are in Italian custody.

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