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BROTHER OF WOULD-BE ASSASSIN PLANS TO ATTEND FUNERAL

The brother of Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish gunman who shot and seriously wounded Pope John Paul II in 1981, plans to attend the pontiff's funeral, the gunman's lawyer said Wednesday.

Adnan Agca flew to Germany and plans to travel to Italy in time for the papal funeral on Friday, said the gunman's lawyer, Mustafa Demirbag. He would not say whether Agca left for Germany on Tuesday or Wednesday, but said his travel was arranged by a German television station, which he would not name.

"He said he was planning to travel to Italy from Germany to attend the funeral," Demirbag said.

Mehmet Ali Agca, who is in an Istanbul prison, petitioned Turkish authorities earlier this week to attend the funeral but was turned down on Tuesday.

John Paul II met with Mehmet Ali Agca in an Italian prison in 1983 and forgave him for the 1981 shooting. Agca was extradited to Turkey in 2000 after almost 20 years behind bars in Italy. He is serving a 17-year prison sentence in Istanbul for earlier crimes in Turkey.

The pope met with Adnan Agca in Italy in 1997.

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