People stand by a heart shaped with candles as a tribute to slain President of Gdansk Pawel Adamowicz in Gdansk, Poland, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Wojciech Strozyk)

Gdansk city official meets with family of mayor's attacker

January 17, 2019 - 6:37 am

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A deputy of Gdansk's slain mayor says he has met with the attacker's mother and that the family needs protection against hate messages.

Mayor Pawel Adamowicz's coffin will lie in state on Thursday and Friday at the Solidarity movement center in Gdansk to allow residents to bid farewell to the official, who was very popular.

President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki will attend the funeral at the Gothic Basilica in Gdansk on Saturday.

Adamowicz, 53, died Monday from stab wounds inflicted the night before by a Gdansk resident, identified as 27-year-old Stefan W., who said it was revenge for his imprisonment. W. had been convicted of robberies and was released last month.

Deputy Mayor Piotr Kowalczuk said that he has met the assailant's mother and that the family is in shock and needs support.

"We need to make sure that they don't fall victims to hate," Kowalczuk said.

Poland's Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said Thursday that before the attacker's release his mother warned the police, and through them the prison authorities, about her son's psychological condition and some plans that worried her.

He suggested that the assailant should now be put in prison for life.

A spokeswoman for the prison authorities said officials and a psychologist repeatedly talked to the man before he was freed, but found nothing to delay his release.

Lt. Col. Elzbieta Krakowska insisted every possible step was taken within the regulations and that prison authorities have no powers to extend a prison term.

She said that during his more than 5 years in prison, W. was "consulted" 20 times by psychiatrists and psychologists who never suggested any special approach to him.

He was "passive and refused to carry out his tasks," she said.

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