Lech Walesa, the former Polish democracy activisit and ex-president, signs a condolence book for Gdansk Mayor Pawel Adamowicz, who died earlier this week after being stabbed by an ex-convict with a grudge against his former party, in Gdansk, Poland, on Wednesday Jan. 16, 2019. In the condolence book at the European Solidarity Center, Walesa, 75, wrote: ""Farewell, my friend, in this vale. We will meet soon in a better place.".(AP Photo/Anna Rezulak/KFP) POLAND AUT

Polish lawmakers pray for mayor; ruling party elite late

January 16, 2019 - 10:36 am

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Polish lawmakers paid respects Wednesday to the popular mayor of Gdansk, who was fatally stabbed during a charity show by an ex-convict with a grudge against Poland's previous ruling party.

Members of the Sejm, the lower house of Poland's parliament, stood in silence and then prayed for the late Pawel Adamowicz. The 53-year-old six-term mayor of Gdansk died Monday after being attacked at a nationwide charity event the previous night.

Grzegorz Schetyna, the head of the main opposition Civic Platform party, remembered Adamowicz as a courageous man who was an anti-communist activist in 1980s and then devoted his life to his city. Schetyna blamed "insane hatred" for his killing.

The 27-year-old suspect, identified as Stefan W., stabbed Adamowicz in the heart, abdomen and wrist and then told the charity event crowd he acted to take revenge against Civic Platform. The suspect was imprisoned for bank robberies when the party governed Poland from 2007 to 2015.

Adamowicz had been a longtime member of the centrist, pro-European Union party but left it in 2015.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the powerful leader of Poland's current ruling party, the right-wing Law and Justice, and two of its deputy parliament speakers were absent from lawmakers' observance and arrived in the Sejm chamber minutes later.

One of the deputy speakers, Beata Mazurek , who serves as the ruling party's spokeswoman, insisted that missing the brief tribute to the mayor was "pure coincidence" and nothing should be read into it.

Some Poles made it clear on Twitter they did not accept her explanation.

Among those signing condolence books in Gdansk was former Polish president Lech Walesa, who founded the anti-communist Solidarity movement in a Gdansk shipyard in 1980. Adamowicz was a student activist in the movement.

"Farewell, my friend, in this vale," the 75-year-old Walesa wrote. "We will meet soon in a better place."

Prosecutors say the suspect, who is from Gdansk, will be examined by two psychiatrists. If convicted of homicide, he could be sentenced to life in prison.

A probe also is underway into the safety measures a security firm put in place for the charity event.

Gdansk officials said Adamowicz's funeral Mass would take place at noon on Saturday and that he would be buried in St. Mary's Basilica, a Gothic brick church where other prominent city figures were laid to rest.

AP Editorial Categories: 
Comments ()