On May 13, 1981, in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, thousands trembled in anticipation of seeing Pope John Paul II.
Instead of a holiday, however, the meeting with the pope turns into a real tragedy, when four shots drown out the cheers of the assembled crowd and he falls badly wounded. Rifleman Mehmet Ali Agca, a member of Turkey’s ultranationalist Gray Wolves, has been arrested and sent to an Italian prison to serve a life sentence.
Agca was arrested and later sentenced to life in prison by an Italian court. According to his testimony for complicity in the preparation of the attack, the Bulgarian citizens Sergey Antonov – head of the office of BGA “Balkan” in Rome, and the employees of our embassy in Italy lieutenant colonel are suspected. Zhelyu Vasilev and Todor Aivazov.
Unlike Sergei Antonov, the two diplomats managed to return to Sofia, but for Antonov the assassination cost him a lifetime. He remained in custody from November 1982 to March 1986, after which he was released due to lack of evidence of involvement in the assassination. Accused, he remains forgotten by almost everyone until the end of his days. The Bulgarian government is not defending Sergei Antonov.
During his visit to Bulgaria in his meeting with President Georgi Parvanov, the Pope admitted that he never believed that Bulgaria was involved in the attack. This finally dispels doubts and conspiracy theories about this.
At the request of Pope Agca, he was pardoned by Italian President Carlo Champi in June 2000, but was repatriated to a Turkish prison where he was serving a sentence for the murder of a Turkish journalist.