The Latest: Polish charity head resigns, says threats made
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The Latest on the stabbing of a Polish mayor (all times local):
The head of the popular Polish charity event during which the mayor of Gdansk was fatally stabbed says he is resigning from his position after having received threats for years.
Pawel Adamowicz died Monday after being stabbed on the stage during an annual event for the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity.
The charity’s head, Jerzy Owsiak, a popular figure known across the country for his energy, said he is resigning as head of management but will continue to cooperate with it.
Owsiak said that for years he has been the target of threats and hate messages, including by some right-wing lawmakers, but that he is not getting any help from the police.
He told a news conference that recently the level of public criticism is “touching on Nazi, fascist language, on threats.”
He said that maybe his resignation would make “let go” the extreme groups and individuals who “have been given a wide space for such activity.”
He apparently meant far-right groups under the current right-wing government.
An aide says that top European Union official Donald Tusk is traveling to his Polish birthplace of Gdansk after his friend, the city’s mayor, was stabbed to death.
Pawel Adamowicz died Monday hours after surgery for wounds to his heart and internal organs sustained the previous evening in a knife attack by an ex-convict who said it was his revenge on the liberal Civic Platform party that Adamowicz formerly belonged to.
Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, is the founder of Civic Platform and now president of the European Council.
Tusk tweeted: “Pawel Adamowicz, Mayor of Gdansk, a man of Solidarity and freedom, a European, my good friend, has been murdered. May he rest in peace.”
His aide Pawel Gras said that Tusk is going to Gdansk because of Adamowicz’s death.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.
The leader of Poland’s conservative ruling party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has expressed “great pain” at the death of the opposition mayor of the city of Gdansk, who was stabbed by an ex-convict during a public charity event.
Mayor Pawel Adamowicz died Monday, hours after surgery for the wounds to his heart and internal organs he sustained Sunday in a knife attack. The attacker said it was his revenge on a liberal party that Adamowicz formerly belonged to, now in the opposition.
Kaczynski was quoted by a party spokeswoman as saying: “I express great pain after the tragic death resulting from a criminal attack on Gdansk Mayor Mr. Pawel Adamowicz. I remain in solidarity with the family and want to express my deep regret over the death of (their) husband, father and brother.
Critics of the ruling party say it has created an atmosphere of suspicion and hostility against Adamowicz and other liberal political opponents that was fertile ground for the attack.
Prosecutors in Poland say they have raised charges to murder for a man who stabbed Gdansk Mayor Pawel Adamowicz, causing injuries to his heart and abdomen.
Poland’s health minister says Adamowicz, 53, died of his wounds on Monday after being stabbed at a fundraiser on Sunday. Doctors spent hours fighting to save his life.
The 27-year-old ex-convict who attacked the mayor was previously facing charges of attempted murder. If convicted of murder, he could face up to life in prison.
He stabbed Adamowicz before an audience on the stage of a popular nationwide charity event.
The Gdansk city flag has been lowered to half-staff at the news of the death.
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.
Lukasz Szumowski said Monday that the doctors who were fighting to save Adamowicz’s life informed him the mayor had died.
Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro says prosecutors are looking closely at the trial five years ago of the man accused of stabbing the mayor of Gdansk and wounding him severely.
The suspect in Sunday’s stabbing of Pawel Adamowicz was convicted of involvement in bank robberies and served the 5½-year prison term in full.
Ziobro, who is also the country’s chief prosecutor, said Monday the term was not very high given the crime, and noted the man was refused parole three times.
Ziobro, a prominent figure in the right-wing government, said he found no words to describe the “evil” of this “terrible event.”
He said the thoughts and prayers of everyone were with Adamowicz’s family, and expressed hope that his life will be saved, but said everything is in the hands of “providence.”
Polish prosecutors say that the man accused of stabbing the mayor of Gdansk is being investigated on suspicion of attempted murder and will also be subjected to a psychiatric examination.
Pawel Adamowicz remains in life-threatening condition after undergoing five hours of surgery for wounds to his heart and internal organs.
Deputy Chief Prosecutor Krzysztof Sierak said Monday five prosecutors have so far questioned 20 witnesses and are preparing to question the 27-year-old suspect.
Sierak said there are “doubts” as to the mental state of the attacker, who used a 14.5 centimeter (5.6 inch) knife on Adamowicz, and two psychiatrists will examine him.
Prosecutors are also looking into the level of security at Sunday’s public event which was the 27th annual festive collection for a very popular charity.
Doctors list Adamowicz in very serious condition, saying more time is needed before they will know if his life will be saved.
A surgeon involved in treating the mayor of the Polish city of Gdansk said doctors are still fighting to save the politician’s life and that his prognosis is still uncertain.
Pawel Adamowicz, 53, was stabbed in the heart and the abdomen Sunday evening while on stage during a fundraiser by an ex-convict who shouted that it was revenge against the politician’s previous political party. He was taken to the university hospital in the Baltic port city, where he underwent a five-hour operation.
Dr. Tomasz Stefaniak said Monday afternoon that Adamowicz is not conscious or able to breathe on his own and is on a life-support machine.
A Polish doctor says that the prognosis for the mayor of Gdansk remains uncertain after he lost a lot of blood and suffered oxygen deprivation in a knife attack.
Mayor Pawel Adamowicz underwent five hours of surgery after suffering wounds to his heart and internal organs in the Sunday attack by an ex-convict who said it was political revenge on a party Adamowicz formerly belonged to.
Jerzy Karpinski, the chief doctor for the Gdansk region, said Monday that Adamowicz is on life support and that “prognosis for his life and health is uncertain” after he lost a lot of blood that caused hypoxia of the whole body.
He stressed, however, that the 53-year-old Adamowicz is a “relatively young, healthy person with no health issues” and that there is hope his body will cope and his condition will return to normal.
He said the situation should be clearer within some 20 hours.
A Polish police spokesman says a man accused of seriously wounding Gdansk city Mayor Pawel Adamowicz acted out of “irrational” motives and is in custody waiting for questioning by prosecutors.
Mariusz Ciarka said Monday the 27-year-old, who was recently released from prison, appeared to have acted alone. He could face charges of attempted murder that carry up to life in prison.
Ciarka said police were checking how the man got hold of a media pass, and whether it was authentic, as it allowed him to get on stage and stab Adamowicz during a popular nationwide charity event.
A reporter for the Onet news portal, Piotr Olejarczyk, said he himself was admitted to the event just by saying he was an journalist.
The popular annual charity event for hospitals is traditionally cheerful and open, with celebrities, politicians and teenagers collecting money in the streets across Poland and also abroad.
A spokeswoman for Poland’s ruling right-wing party has condemned a knife attack on an opposition city mayor as “barbaric” and has called for less aggression in politics.
Gdansk Mayor Pawel Adamowicz remains in very serious condition after suffering wounds to his heart and internal organs in the Sunday attack by an ex-convict who said it was a political revenge on a party Adamowicz formerly belonged to.
Beata Mazurek of the Law and Justice party said Monday that the attack on Adamowicz should be “absolutely condemned by all, regardless of what side of the political stage they are on, or whether they are politicians.”
She stressed such attack should never have taken place.
Mazurek said politicians in Poland need “greater responsibility for words, for deeds” because “there is no shortage of madmen on both sides” of the political spectrum.
The Polish city of Gdansk is holding a blood collection for its mayor, who remains in serious condition after being stabbed in the heart and the abdomen.
Doctors operated for five hours on Mayor Pawel Adamowicz, who was stabbed during a popular charity event Sunday by a convicted criminal who called it political revenge.
One of the surgeons, Dr. Tomasz Stefaniak, said Adamowicz suffered a “serious wound to the heart, a wound to the diaphragm and to the internal organs.” He said Adamowicz needed massive blood transfusions.
Gdansk is holding a blood collection for Adamowicz on Monday. A rally against violence is also planned.
Gdansk Archbishop Leszek Slawoj Glodz, who was at the hospital during the surgery, said he was praying for a “miracle.”