Imprisoned for more than 50 years after confessing to murdering US Senator Robert Kennedy (1925-1968), Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan, 77, has been given the green light by the California State Probation Commission to get out of prison and be granted parole .
The recommendation, published this Friday (27), however, still has to be considered by a larger team of the commission itself – which is expected to take 90 days – and approved by Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat who is in the last line. right of his term. . and tries to be re-elected.
Robert Kennedy, aka Bobby, younger brother of former President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) – he was also assassinated – was shot three times in the head by Sirhan shortly after winning the Democratic primary in California in June 1968, when he was 42 years old. With his absence from the election race, the winner of the polls was Conservative Richard Nixon.
After confessing to the crime, Sirhan justified that he shot Kennedy because he felt betrayed by the then senator, who had a campaign proposal to send 50 military planes to bolster the arsenal of Israel against the Palestinians.
During the virtual hearing in which parole was recommended, Sirhan said he remembers little of the time of the murder, but reiterated his guilt. “I take responsibility for carrying the gun and firing the shots.”
The Palestinian also claimed that he had learned to control his anger and was ready to live in peace, without endangering others. “You have my word,” he said. If released, he could be deported to Jordan.
It was the 16th time Sirhan had confronted members of the Probation Commission, but the first time that no state prosecutor appeared to oppose the Palestinian’s release. This is because Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has implemented a policy that makes it unnecessary for prosecutors to attend such hearings.
Even Douglas Kennedy, one of Sen. Robert’s sons and now a commentator for US broadcaster Fox News, demanded that Sirhan be released if authorities understood he did not pose a threat to society. “I have lived my life in fear of him and his name. I am grateful to see him today as a human being worthy of compassion and love.”
Other members of the Kennedy family, however, opposed Sirhan’s release, as did the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, which sent a letter to the commission asking it not to recommend parole.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Palestinian lawyer Angela Berry argued that the commission should base its assessment on what Sirhan is today, not on what he has done in the past. “To justify a denial on the basis of the seriousness of the crime would ignore the rehabilitation [de Sirhan], which is the most relevant indicator of whether or not a person is a risk to society. “