Sirhan Sirhan, the Palestinian assassin of Sen. Robert Kennedy who acted out of anger at Kennedy’s support for Israel, has been denied parole for the 15th time.
Sirhan shot Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, shortly after the senator won the 1968 California Democratic presidential primary. “This crime impacted the nation, and I daresay it impacted the world,” said parole board commissioner Brian Roberts. “It was a political assassination of a viable Democratic presidential candidate.”
Sirhan was originally sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted to life in prison when California abolished the death penalty. At his previous parole hearing in 2011, the commissioners determined that he “had not show enough remorse or understanding of the severity of his crime.”
Kennedy, the younger brother of President John F. Kennedy, was well known for his support of Israel. He arrived in Israel just prior to Israel’s War of Independence and wrote four dispatches for the now-defunct Boston Post that expressed his admiration for the new state. In one report, dated June 3, 1948, Kennedy observed:
When I landed at Lydda Airport I became immediately aware of it. I carried letters of introduction to both Arabs and Jews and at the airport where both sides intermingle it was explained to me by first one and then the other that I was taking a great risk. The Jew said it was all right for me to carry Arab papers in Jewish territory for I wouldn’t be molested, but when I entered Arab territory I had better be rid of all letters to Jews for I would immediately be searched and, if they found anything, would be quickly shot. The Arab said exactly the opposite and I found both to be half right, in that I was never searched by either side.
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