The murderer of Robert F. Kennedy will not be released after all. The governor of California has stopped this because he thinks gunman Sirhan Sirhan (77) has not learned enough from his sentence. The probation service ruled last year that he could be released.
“I have determined that Sirhan has not developed the responsibility and understanding necessary for his safe release into the community,” Governor Gavin Newsom wrote in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times.
Sirhan shot and killed Robert Kennedy in 1968 after an election rally in Los Angeles. Kennedy was then on a campaign to become president of the US like his previously assassinated brother John. Palestinian-Jordanian Sirhan cited RFK’s support for Israel as the motive.
Sirhan was sentenced to death for the murder, but that sentence was commuted to life in prison in 1972 when California abolished the death penalty. He had already asked for release 15 times in vain. Last year, the public prosecutor for the first time did not object. A number of Kennedy’s children also spoke out in favor of Sirhan Sirhan’s release.
Grateful and deeply relieved
A Kennedy son, who attended last year’s release hearing, called it “overwhelming” to see Sirhan in person. “All my life I feared him, but I am grateful that I can see him today as a person who deserves pity and love.”
Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert F. Kennedy, and six of their children released a joint statement following Newsom’s decision saying they were “grateful and deeply relieved.” “His decision represents the justification of the rule of law against anyone who betrays it with hatred and violence.”