LONDON (Jun. 19)
Four Jordanian lawyers designated to come to the United States to defend Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, accused slayer of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, today cancelled their proposed trip. (The matter had been discussed in diplomatic contacts between Jordan and the United States, it was reported in Washington.)
No explanation was given for the cancellation when it was announced in Amman following a meeting that involved Premier Bahjat al-Talhouni. A statement said that “after consulting some fellow lawyers in neighborhing Arab countries who will undertake to defend Sirhan on behalf of the Arab Lawyers Federation,” the decision was taken for the Jordanians to drop out of the case.
Meanwhile, Sirhan’s father, Bishara Salameh Sirhan, went to Amman yesterday to draw funds from his bank account for his projected trip to Los Angeles, and held a press conference in which he appealed to Pope Paul VI and “the conscience of the world” to secure a fair trial for his son. The elder Sirhan, according to Amman dispatches, told the newsmen that he regretted the death of “Kennedy the human being” but that the Senator’s “unbalanced” support of Israel in his presidential campaign statements “provoked the sensitive feelings of Sirhan who had suffered much from the Jews.” The alleged assassin’s father dwelt at length on what he claimed were his son’s “painful memories” of the 1948 Palestine war. (The Washington Post carried a dispatch from Jerusalem today quoting neighbors of the Sirhan family who said that the elder Sirhan was a cruel father who “once beat one of his sons until the boys was unconscious and chased away neighbors who sought to intervene.”)