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Murder cover-up feared.

ROME * The head of Turkey's Roman Catholic bishops' conference has rejected medical findings that the man who brutally murdered his predecessor, Bishop Luigi Padovese, was insane.

"The Turkish justice minister seemed quite sincere when he promised the truth--but our church is being silenced by this manipulation of the court and public opinion," said Archbishop Ruggero Franceschini of Izmir.

A medical panel in the southern town of Adana issued a report Dec. 1 that Padovese's killer, Murat Altun, was mentally unbalanced when he stabbed the cleric in June.

Franceschini said the finding contradicts a separate medical report on Altun before the murder, which had declared him of sound mind. He said the doubts and suspicions among local Catholics have been ignored.

Padovese was stabbed to death at his home by Altun, his driver, who was said by eyewitnesses to have chanted, "Allah is great!" after the killing.

The church's lawyer, Ercan Eris, has said the murder of the bishop bore the hallmarks of Islamic militancy, and urged the authorities to widen their inquiries.

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Title Annotation:WORLD BRIEFS
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUIT
Date:Dec 24, 2010
Words:189
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