Former congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II, the oldest son of Robert F. Kennedy, denounced the possible parole of Sirhan Sirhan, the man convicted of killing his father in California in 1968.
On Friday, a California parole board recommended that Sirhan be released on parole.
“Two commissioners of the 18-member California Parole Board made a grievous error last Friday in recommending the release of the man who murdered my father," Joseph P. Kennedy wrote a statement released Sunday and quoted by The Associated Press.
“I understand that there are differing views about ending the sentence of this killer, including within my own family. But emotions and opinions do not change facts or history," he added.
The board found that Sirhan, 77, no longer poses a threat to society, noting that he had enrolled in more than 20 programs including anger management classes, Tai Chi and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
The ruling will be reviewed over the next four months by the board’s staff. It will then be sent to the governor, who will have 30 days to decide whether to grant it, reverse it or modify it.
“I hope the full parole board will reverse the decision over the ongoing review period and that the California governor, if faced with the choice to release him, will keep him in prison to serve out his full life sentence,” Kennedy wrote, according to AP.
Sirhan shot and killed Kennedy on June 5, 1968, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, shortly after Kennedy had won California's Democratic presidential primary.
Sirhan was convicted of first-degree murder in 1969 and sentenced to death. His sentence was reduced to life in prison when California abolished the death penalty in 1972.
A Christian Palestinian Arab, Sirhan said in his confession that he murdered Kennedy because he was angered by the Democratic Senator's support for the State of Israel.
Sirhan was originally sentenced to death but that has already been reduced to life in prison, Joseph P. Kennedy noted.
“The prisoner killed my father because of his support of Israel," Kennedy wrote. “The man was tried, convicted and sentenced to death. Yet he now may walk free, no doubt to the cheers of those who share his views. Let there be no mistake, the prisoner’s release will be celebrated by those who believe that political disagreements can be solved by a gun."