updated 1/20/2006 12:32:06 PM ET 2006-01-20T17:32:06

Police took Mehmet Ali Agca into custody Friday, Turkish TV reported, shortly after a court ruled that the man who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981 should return to prison to serve more time for killing a journalist and for other crimes committed in Turkey.

The ruling by a panel of judges on an appeals court came eight days after Agca, 48, was released from an Istanbul prison.

He served 19 years in prison in Italy for shooting the pope on May 13, 1981, and 5½ years of a 10-year sentence in Turkey for the murder of journalist Abdi Ipekci in 1979.

In ordering his release, the local court had counted the time served in Italy, but the decision outraged many Turks.

But the appeals court said Agca’s time served in Italy should not have been deducted from his sentence in Turkey. It was not immediately clear how many more years Agca would be required to serve.

His lawyer, Mustafa Demirbag, did not answer his telephone.

Turks outraged by freedom
Responding to the public outcry, Justice Minister Cemil Cicek had asked the appeals court earlier this week to annul Agca’s release, arguing that he should serve a full 10-year sentence from June 14, 2000, when he was extradited to Turkey for killing Ipekci.

Agca vanished from the public eye following his Jan. 12 release from prison, although authorities said they had intelligence about his whereabouts. He appeared in public briefly Monday when he reported to a military hospital.

“There was a general expectation that he would be called back to jail,” said Ilter Turan, a political analyst. “The question now is whether he can be located.”

Agca already had served five months for the killing Ipekci before escaping a military prison in 1979.

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