Sirhan Sirhan - Prosecution - Motives

Motives

A motive cited for his actions is the Middle East conflict. After his arrest, Sirhan said, "I can explain it. I did it for my country." Sirhan believed he was deliberately betrayed by Kennedy's support for Israel in the June 1967 Six-Day War, which had begun exactly one year to the day before the assassination. During a search of Sirhan's apartment after his arrest, a spiral-bound notebook was found containing a diary entry which demonstrated that his anger had gradually fixated on Robert Kennedy, who had promised to send 50 fighter jets to Israel if he were elected president. Sirhan's journal entry of May 18, 1968, read: "My determination to eliminate R.F.K. is becoming the more and more of an unshakable obsession...Kennedy must die before June 5th". They found other notebooks and diary entries which contained his growing rage at Zionists, particularly at Kennedy; his journals also contained many nonsensical scribbles, which were thought to be his version of "free writing".

The next day, on June 6, the Los Angeles Times printed an article, which discussed Sirhan's motive for the assassination, confirmed by the memos Sirhan wrote to himself. Jerry Cohen, who authored the article, stated:

When the Jordanian nationalist, Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, allegedly shot Kennedy, ostensibly because of the senator's advocacy of U.S. support for Israel, the crime with which he was charged was in essence another manifestation of the centuries-old hatred between Arab and Jew.

M.T. Mehdi, then secretary-general of the Action Committee on American-Arab Relations, believed that Sirhan had acted in justifiable self-defense, stating: "Sirhan was defending himself against those 50 Phantom jets Kennedy was sending to Israel." Mehdi wrote a 100-page book on the subject called Kennedy and Sirhan: Why?.

Later in prison, Sirhan stated that his motivation was anger fueled by liquor. An interview with Sirhan in 1980 revealed new claims that a combination of liquor and anger over the anniversary of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war triggered his actions the night he assassinated RFK. "You must remember the circumstances of that night, June 5. That was when I was provoked," Sirhan says, recorded in a transcript of one of his interviews with Mehdi, later president of the New York-based American-Arab Relations Committee. "That is when I initially went to observe the Jewish Zionist parade in celebration of the June 5, 1967, victory over the Arabs. That was the catalyst that triggered me on that night." Then Sirhan said, "In addition, there was the consumption of the liquor, and I want the public to understand that..."

At a June 30, 2003 hearing, Lawrence Teeter, in an attempt to get Sirhan a new trial, claimed that Sirhan had been hypnotized into firing at Kennedy and that he may have been using blanks; that Sirhan couldn't possibly have fired the fatal shot from where he was standing; that prosecutors blackmailed his defense attorney to throw the case and that police and government agencies whitewashed or bungled investigations. The motion was denied.

Read more about this topic:  Sirhan Sirhan, Prosecution

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