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Turkish court upholds prison sentence for Muslim teen who shot priest

ICC Note: Ruling ends appeals for Muslim teenager who showed no remorse for killing Catholic priest.

10/10/07 Turkey (Catholic News Service) — Turkey ‘s high court of appeals has upheld the prison sentence of a Muslim teenager who shot an Italian priest in Turkey .

Turkish newspapers reported that the Oct. 4 ruling, which maintained 16-year-old Oguzhan Akdin’s original prison sentence of 18 years and 10 months, would end further police investigations into Father Andrea Santoro’s death.

Akdin was arrested Feb. 5, 2006, a few hours after killing 60-year-old Father Santoro, who had worked for six years in Trabzon on the Black Sea .

Eyewitnesses said the teenager shouted “Allahu akbar” (“Allah is great”) before shooting the priest in the back while he knelt in prayer in church.

Akdin told police he had been outraged by cartoons lampooning Islam’s prophet Mohammed in European newspapers. The cartoons sparked anti-Christian protests in Turkey , most of whose 67 million inhabitants are Sunni Muslims.

Bishop Luigi Padovese of Anatolia told journalists the killer had shown no remorse during the October 2006 trial. He said Akdin’s mother had insisted his crime was “a gift to the state and nation” and had compared him to Mehmet Ali Agca, who tried to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981.