SIX of the nine surviving children of Robert F. Kennedy have condemned a decision to grant parole to their father's murderer.
However two of the late New York Senator's children supported the parole of 77-year-old Sirhan Sirhan, who has been denied parole on 15 previous occasions.
The final decision of the two-person panel is subject to a 90-day review by the parole board, after which it can be reversed, upheld or modified by California Governor Gavin Newsom.
'A crime against our nation'
Kerry Kennedy, one of RFK's daughters, released a statement on behalf of her and five of her siblings condemning Sirhan's parole recommendation.
"As children of Robert F. Kennedy, we are devastated that the man who murdered our father has been recommended for parole," it read.
"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.
"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."
The statement added that the murder impacted not only the Kennedy family but was "a crime against our nation and its people".
It concluded by calling on the parole board and Governor Newsom to reverse the recommendation.
However two of RFK's children pushed for Sirhan's parole, believing him to be rehabilitated.
According to Newsweek, Douglas Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy Jr backed the decision, with the latter writing a letter to the board in support of Sirhan's parole.
There was no one present at Friday's parole hearing from Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón's office, marking the first time in 16 hearing hearings that they have not opposed Sirhan’s release.
Senator Kennedy died in hospital at the age of 42 on June 6, 1968, a day after he was shot three times by Sirhan.
The tragedy came almost five years after the assassination of his brother, President John F Kennedy, on November 22, 1963.
Sirhan was sentenced to death, which was later commuted to life in prison.