Why is Sirhan Sirhan being released? RFK's widow objects to husband's killer parole
ROBERT F Kennedy’s widow, Ethel Kennedy has said that her husband's assassin, Sirhan Bishara Sirhan "should not have the opportunity to terrorize again" after a parole board voted he should be freed. In 1968, Sirhan killed RFK.
"Bobby believed we should work to 'tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of the world.' He wanted to end the war in Vietnam and bring people together to build a better, stronger country. More than anything, he wanted to be a good father and loving husband," Kennedy said in a typed statement. "Our family and our country suffered an unspeakable loss due to the inhumanity of one man," she said. "We believe in the gentleness that spared his life, but in taming his act of violence, he should not have the opportunity to terrorize again." At the end of the letter, Kennedy hand-wrote: "He should not be paroled."
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Sirhan, a Christian Palestinian from Jordan, has been jailed for more than 50 years for fatally killing Kennedy inside the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles following the then-New York senator's California primary victory speech in 1968. Sirhan opposed Kennedy's support for Israel. He has stated that he doesn't remember shooting Kennedy.
Before taking the final action, the decision will undergo a 120-day review period and go to California Gov Gavin Newsom. Newsom has 30 days to decide whether to uphold, reject or amend the decision. Sirhan was initially sentenced to death but his life was spared and he was sentenced to life imprisonment after the courts declared the death penalty unconstitutional in 1972.
A two-panel parole board in California suggested last month that he be released. It was Sirhan's 16th appearance before the board. Two of Kennedy's sons, Douglas Kennedy and Robert F Kennedy Jr have said they support Sirhan's parole. Several of Kennedy's 11 children, Joseph P Kennedy II, Courtney Kennedy, Kerry Kennedy, Christopher G Kennedy, Maxwell T Kennedy and Rory Kennedy said they opposed Sirhan's release. "We adamantly oppose the parole and release of Sirhan Sirhan," they said in a statement. "Our father's death impacted our family in ways that can never adequately be articulated and today's decision by a two-member board has inflicted additional pain." "We urge the Parole Board staff, the full Board, and ultimately, Governor Newsom, to reverse this initial recommendation. It is a recommendation we intend to challenge every step of the way, and we hope that those who also hold the memory of our father in their hearts will stand with us," the statement continued.