No mercy: Kennedy killer must remain in custody in the USA


Los Angeles – He’s been in jail for over 50 years – and that’s where he has to stay.

The murderer of US politician Robert F. Kennedy († 42) is not released on parole. California Governor Gavin Newsom spoke out on Thursday (local time) against the release of 77-year-old Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan.

Kennedy’s assassination is one of the most notorious crimes in American history, Newsom wrote in a statement. Kennedy’s assassination caused “immeasurable suffering” to his then-pregnant wife and ten children, as well as “great harm” to the American people, the governor said.

After decades in prison, Sirhan has not shown the necessary insight that would prevent him from making further dangerous decisions.



Killed five years after his brother John F. Kennedy after winning the primary for the US presidential nomination: Robert F. Kennedy succumbed to his gunshot wounds in a clinic a day later.Photo: picture alliance/ dpa

A parole board in California voted in favor of Sirhan’s release in August. Sirhan has been in prison for over 50 years and had now made his 16th appeal for clemency. The commission’s decision was presented to the California governor, who has now rejected it.

The bloody deed sent shockwaves and horror around the world five years after Kennedy’s brother, US President John F. Kennedy, was shot dead in Dallas, Texas.


This is what Sirhan Sirhan looked like in 1969, shortly after his sentencing when he arrived at San Quentin Prison

This is what Sirhan Sirhan looked like in 1969, shortly after his sentencing when he arrived at San Quentin PrisonPhoto: Bettmann/Getty Images

Sirhan, a Jerusalem-born Palestinian, ambushed Kennedy in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles and shot him with a revolver on June 5, 1968 – just hours after he had contested the California primary for the Democratic US – Presidential candidate had won.

At the time, the US judiciary assumed that Kennedy’s pro-Israel attitude was the motive of the then 24-year-old perpetrator.

Sirhan was sentenced to death in 1969. After California suspended the death penalty in 1972, the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. Now he can submit a new parole application in February 2023 at the earliest.

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