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article imageGdansk mayor killer backs ruling party: media

By AFP     Jan 24, 2019 in World

The man accused of murdering the mayor of Poland's port city of Gdansk is a supporter of the ruling Law and Justice party (Pis), according to an official document which media cited Thursday.

The 27-year-old suspect, named to date only as Stefan W, reportedly told authorities at the jail where he had served time for a string of bank robberies he backed the far-right party.

Stefan W was released in December after serving more than five years and stabbed liberal mayor Pawel Adamowicz to death on January 13 at a public charity event.

Thursday's media reports cited an official document the jail passed on to police which revealed the Gdansk resident, who has been treated for paranoid schizophrenia, declared he "hopes (PiS leader) Jaroslaw Kaczynski becomes dictator".

He further stated he wanted to leave his home region, lamenting Gdansk had become a "home for Civic Platform (PO)", the centrist main opposition party, according to the document which private broadcaster tvn24.pl published on its website.

Adamowicz was a former PO member whose backing he retained as mayor in a city he had served for more than two decades and where he was highly popular.

Immediately following the stabbing, Stefan W accused the party of "torturing" him and being responsible for his imprisonment.

Several commentators and mainly opposition politicians have noted the Adamowicz murder came at a time of increasingly toxic hostility between the ruling party and its opponents.

The PiS government, which took office in 2015, has since introduced a string of controversial judicial reforms that the European Union has warned pose a threat to judicial independence, the rule of law and ultimately to democracy.

Many Poles see the mayor's murder as having been fuelled by deepening political polarisation and online hate speech.

A PO official meanwhile tweeted Thursday that the party had evacuated eight of its offices after receiving threats of violence.

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