Polish parliament honors slain Gdansk mayor with prayer

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WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Polish lawmakers paid respects Wednesday to the popular mayor of Gdansk, who died after being stabbed by an ex-convict with a grudge while onstage during a charity show.

Prosecutors say the suspect, who has records of a health disorder, will be examined by two psychiatry experts in the coming days.

Members of the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, stood in silence and prayed for Pawel Adamowicz, who died on Monday after being stabbed at a nationwide fundraising event Sunday evening.

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 assailant stabbed Adamowicz three times in the heart and abdomen and twice in the wrist, as Adamowicz tried to protect himself, and then told the crowd that it was revenge against Civic Platform, which was in power when he was imprisoned for bank robberies. Adamowicz was a longtime member of the party but left it in 2015.

Grazyna Wawryniuk, spokeswoman for Gdansk prosecutors, said the suspect, identified as Stefan W., 27, from the city, has not admitted guilt. If convicted of homicide, the attacker could face life in prison.

A separate probe is underway into the level of safety provided by a security firm at the charity event.

In Gdansk, city officials announced that Adamowicz’s funeral Mass would take place at noon (1100 GMT; 6 a.m. EST) on Saturday and that he would be laid to rest among the city’s prominent figures in St. Mary’s Basilica, a Gothic brick church that is a city landmark and one of the largest brick churches in Europe.

Among those signing condolence books was ex-president Lech Walesa, a democracy leader who founded his anti-communist Solidarity movement in Gdansk shipyard in 1980. Adamowicz, who was 53, 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.”

FILE – The May 4, 2016 file photo shows Gdansk mayor Pawel Adamowicz speaking at a commemoration ceremony for late Bremen Mayor Hans Koschnick. Poland’s health minister says that Gdansk Mayor Pawel Adamowicz has died from stab wounds a day after being attacked onstage by an ex-convict at a charity event. (Carmen Jaspersen/dpa via AP)
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