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New release request for Robert Kennedy’s killer denied



(Los Angeles) A ​​new request for the parole of Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of Robert Kennedy in 1968, was rejected on Wednesday by a specialized commission in California.

Aged 78, Mr. Sirhan has been imprisoned for more than fifty years, despite the doubts surrounding his responsibility in this assassination which profoundly upset American political life.

Mr. Sirhan thus suffered a new rejection, after multiple requests.

In August 2021, another commission had given the green light to his release, but California Governor Gavin Newsom had opposed this decision in January of the following year.

The elected Democrat had at the time considered that Mr. Sirhan represented “an unreasonable threat to public safety”, citing several factors to explain his decision, “including Mr. Sirhan’s refusal to accept responsibility for his crime. »

Sirhan Sirhan was found guilty in April 1969 of the murder of Robert Kennedy, the younger brother of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy – also assassinated.


Robert F. Kennedy in May 1968

Nicknamed “Bobby,” the New York senator was himself campaigning for the presidency of the United States when he was shot dead in a Los Angeles hotel in 1968.

First sentenced to death, Mr. Sirhan then saw his sentence commuted to life in prison several years later.

Doubts about Sirhan’s guilt have remained since his trial. The hearing had revealed that Bobby Kennedy was shot at close range from behind, but Sirhan was standing in front of him according to some witnesses.

Later it emerged that 13 shots had been fired, while Sirhan’s gun could only hold eight bullets.

Suspicion over the verdict led Kennedy’s son, Robert F. Kennedy Jr, to visit Mr. Sirhan in prison.

“I went there because I was curious and disturbed by what I had seen in the evidence,” he told the washington post in 2018. “I was troubled by the idea that the wrong person could have been convicted for killing my father. »

He and his younger brother, Douglas, backed Mr Sirhan’s bid to free him in 2021.

Palestinian immigrant, Mr. Sirhan had initially justified his gesture by the support of Robert Kennedy for the sale of military planes to Israel.

At a parole hearing in 2016, Mr Sirhan claimed he had drunk too much the night of the crime and wished “nothing had happened”.

He had also assured that his earlier confessions during the trial were made by a lawyer who had badly advised him.

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