Widow of slain Polish mayor blames killing on state TV

The widow of the slain Gdansk mayor blames his death on the government-controlled Television station TVP and the negative light in which it presented the mayor who was critical of the right-wing ruling team

WARSAW, Poland -- The widow of Poland's slain mayor has blamed his death on "hate speech" used against him on government-controlled television.

Magdalena Adamowicz said in an interview published late Tuesday on Onet.pl portal that TVP has "responsibility" for the death of Gdansk mayor Pawel Adamowicz.

Adamowicz, who had been critical of the right-wing ruling party, died Jan. 14 after being stabbed the night before onstage at a public charity event in the northern Polish city. The arrested suspect is an ex-convict who publicly voiced a grudge against Civic Platform, an opposition party that Adamowicz once belonged to.

"My husband was killed by words," the mayor's widow said. "This is TVP's responsibility. I think so. The hate speech, the way they were showing him, had an influence on the killer's choice of Pawel for his victim."

Government critics have said the violence could be partly traced to hostility built against Adamowicz under the ruling Law and Justice party that was carried on state TV news programs, as well as threats by right-wing extremist groups.

Protesters have called for the dismissal of TVP head Jacek Kurski following a program that TVP aired on the day of Adamowicz's death that put all blame for aggression in the country's public sphere on Civic Platform officials.

Kurski insists TVP has observed all necessary standards and says the station will sue anyone suggesting that its programs have contributed to the death.

"Let them sue me," said Magdalena Adamowicz, a lawyer. She also blamed the ruling Law and Justice party for failing to condemn and prosecute hate speech and threats against politicians, including her husband.

The attacker's mother has apologized and begged forgiveness from Adamowicz's family and said her son has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

In a gesture of respect for Adamowicz, who was helping raise funds for a charity when he was stabbed, an online collection was called on the day of his death to add to some 5,000 zlotys ($1,300; 1,200 euros) that he had raised. In just over a week, some $4.2 million have been raised.