Ethel Kennedy says that Sirhan’s parole would give him the “opportunity to terrorize again.”
Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert F. Kennedy, said on Tuesday that she was against the release from prison of Sirhan Sirhan, her late husband’s assassin.
Kennedy released a statement opposing parole for Sirhan, who assassinated Robert F. Kennedy during his 1968 presidential campaign, after a California state review panel hearing on August 27 ruled that 77-year old Sirhan could be eligible for parole for the first time.
Kennedy, 93, said: “He should not be paroled.”
“Our family and our country suffered an unspeakable loss due to the inhumanity of one man,” Kennedy wrote. “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.”
Kennedy said that her son believed in making “gentle 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,” she added.
The statement was the first time Kennedy has publicly spoken about the matter.
The review panel’s decision comes with a 120-day review period during which it will be decided by legal staff whether to transfer the case to a full board for further review. The governor of California will then have a 30 day period within which he can reverse the outcome of the board’s ruling, Reuters reported.
If the governor does not make any move, Sirhan will be released from prison. He has been denied parole 15 times in the past.
Sirhan was convicted in 1969 of first degree murder and sentenced to death for assassinating Robert F. Kennedy, on June 5, 1968 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Kennedy, then a senator running in the Democratic presidential primaries, died the next day.
Sirhan, a Christian Palestinian Arab, has said that he has no memory of committing the murder. Although, he previously said that he shot Kennedy three times over his support for Israel.
In 1972, during the period in which capital punishment was banned in California, Sirhan’s death sentence was altered to life in prison.
In late August, California state prosecutors stated they will not oppose Sirhan’s release.