Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin Sirhan Sirhan was granted parole on 16th attempt on Friday after two of the former senator’s sons,  Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Douglas Kennedy, supported his release. 

In a statement, RFK’s 6 other children Kerry Kennedy, Joseph P. Kennedy II, Courtney Kennedy, Christopher G. Kennedy, Maxwell T. Kennedy and Rory Kennedy wrote they are “devastated” by the decision.

“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,” they wrote. 

“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. Our father’s death impacted our family in ways that can never adequately be articulated and today’s decision by a two-member parole board has inflicted enormous additional pain,” the siblings added. 

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RFK he was fatally shot by Sirhan on June 6, 1968. The accused was taken into custody and eventually convicted of first-degree murder. Sirhan, who is a Christian Palestinian from Jordan, acknowledged that he was angry at RFK for his support of Israel.

After serving 53 years for the murder, the 77-year-old told members of the California Parole Board that he had learned to control his anger and was committed to living peacefully.

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He got the support of RFK’s sons. Douglas Kennedy said he was moved to tears by Sirhan’s remorse and he should be released if he’s not a threat to others.”

“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,” he said, AP reported.   

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Sirhan was granted parole on Friday. The ruling will be reviewed over the next 90 days by the California Parole Board’s staff following which it will be sent to the governor, who will have 30 days to decide whether to grant it, reverse it or modify it.