Rory Kennedy, documentary filmmaker and daughter of the late senator Robert F. Kennedy (RFK), and five other Kennedy siblings are speaking out against the parole recommendation granted to RFK’s assassin Sirhan Sirhan on Friday. The ruling for the 77-year-old prisoner will next be sent to California Governor Gavin Newsom for final approval, after two of RFK’s sons showed support of Sirhan’s parole.
Rory Kennedy shared the following statement — signed by Joseph P. Kennedy II, Courtney Kennedy, Kerry Kennedy, Christopher G. Kennedy, and Maxwell T. Kennedy — on social media.
“As children of Robert F. Kennedy, we are devastated that the man who murdered our father has been recommended for parole. Our father’s death is a very difficult matter for us to discuss publicly and for the past many decades we have declined to engage directly in the parole process,” the post began.
“Given today’s unexpected recommendation by the California parole board after 15 previous decisions to deny release, we feel compelled to make our position clear. We adamantly oppose the parole and release of Sirhan Sirhan and are shocked by a ruling that we believe ignores the standards for parole of a confessed, first-degree murderer in the state of California.”
See the full statement below.
Two of Robert F. Kennedy’s surviving children, Douglas and Robert Jr., have publicly supported the release of Sirhan, who says he doesn’t remember carrying out the assassination at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles in 1968.
At a virtual hearing (via AP), Douglas, who was a toddler when he was father was killed said, “I’m overwhelmed just by being able to view Mr. Sirhan face to face. I think I’ve lived my life both in fear of him and his name in one way or another. And I am grateful today to see him as a human being worthy of compassion and love.” To Sirhan, he said, “I do have some love for you.”
Robert Jr., meanwhile submitted a letter to the parole board on Sirhan’s behalf, stating, “While nobody can speak definitively on behalf of my father, I firmly believe that based on his own consuming commitment to fairness and justice, that he would strongly encourage this board to release Mr. Sirhan because of Sirhan’s impressive record of rehabilitation.”
Please read and share statement from my family regarding today’s recommendation of parole for Sirhan Sirhan. pic.twitter.com/60klc1fHxU
— Rory Kennedy (@roryekennedy) August 28, 2021