Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Sirhan, the assassin of Robert F. Kennedy, denied parole by California governor

Jan 13 (Reuters) – California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Thursday he has denied parole to Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian refugee serving a life sentence for the 1968 assassination of US presidential candidate Robert F.

Newsom made the announcement in August after the California Review Board recommended Sirhan’s release from prison, which is subject to review by the board’s legal staff and the governor himself. He was denied parole 15 times earlier.

Outlining his decision in an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times, Newsom said he disagreed with the board of the parole hearing that Sirhan, 77, was fit for parole.

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“After carefully reviewing the case, including records in the California State Archives, I have determined that Sirahan has not developed the accountability and insight necessary to support his safe release in the community,” Newsom wrote.

Sarahan’s lawyer, Angela Berry, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. She has previously said that Sirhan has never been charged with serious prison violations and is considered by prison authorities to be of low risk.

Reuters was not immediately able to reach members of the Kennedy family for comment on Newsom’s decision.

Sirhan was convicted of shooting 42-year-old Kennedy in the kitchen pantry of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968.

The shooting came minutes after the US senator and former US attorney general gave his victory speech after winning the California Democratic primary. Kennedy died the next day. Kennedy’s older brother, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in 1963 in Dallas.

Sirhan has said he has no recollection of the assassination of Robert Kennedy, although he has also said that he fired at Kennedy because he was angered by Israel’s support.

After the parole board issued its recommendation, Kennedy’s widow, Ethel, 93, opposed Sirhan’s release, saying “our family and our country have been an irreparable loss because of the inhumanity of one person”.

Ethel Kennedy, along with six of her nine surviving children, publicly opposed the release of Sirhan. He was reported by the Los Angeles Times to have a rift with two other siblings.

Newsom pointed out that he had called Sirhan’s “changing story” about the murder and refused to take responsibility for it as evidence that he was ineligible for release.

Sirhan was sentenced to death in 1969, but his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment after California banned the death penalty.

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Reporting by Rami Job; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Grant McCool

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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