Bishara Sirhan, the father who supposedly mistreated Sirhan Sirhan so badly that his son’s rage and frustration became motives to kill Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, died last week at his home village of Taibe in the occupied West Bank of the Jordan River, Palestinian sources told Reuters news agency on Tuesday.
The elder Sirhan, who was in his 80s, emigrated alone to the United States in the late 1950s, sending later for his wife, Mary, and their children but leaving them afterward to return to the West Bank.
He was in the West Bank in 1968 when his son shot and killed Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles as the ex-U.S. attorney general and brother of President John F. Kennedy campaigned for the Democratic nomination for that year’s presidential election.
Sirhan Bishara Sirhan was sentenced to life imprisonment and all attempts to secure early relase have been turned down. He indicated at his 1969 trial that a main motivation for his act was anger at Kennedy’s support for Israel, but Martin M. Schorr, a psychologist, instead traced Sirhan’s rage to a hatred of his father brought about by beatings and other mistreatment.
Schorr, who interviewed Sirhan at length, said the assassin realized that he couldn’t bring himself to kill his father but found in Kennedy “a symbolic replica.”