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Turkey: Driver gets 15 years in bishop killing

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January 23, 2013 11:16 AM EST | AP


ANKARA, Turkey — A lawyer says the driver of a Roman Catholic bishop in Turkey has been convicted of stabbing him to death and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Monsignor Luigi Padovese, the Vatican's apostolic vicar in Anatolia, was killed in Iskenderun, southern Turkey, in 2010. Driver Murat Altun was convicted and sentenced by a Turkish court on Tuesday.

Padovese's killing was the latest in a string of attacks in recent years on Christians in Turkey. But Turkish authorities insisted the killing was personal and not religious nor politically motivated.

Altun's lawyer, Cihan Onal, said Wednesday that the court initially sentenced his client to 18 years before lowering the term to 15 years for his good behavior throughout the trial.

Onal and Altun have not yet decided whether to appeal.