Authorities in South Africa announced Friday that Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius will be released on parole after serving nine years in prison for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He will be released on January 5.
Known for running with prosthetics on both legs, Pistorius went from a Paralympic track and field champion to a convicted murderer. The trial against him attracted the attention of the whole world.
Pistorius shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013 on Valentine’s Day.
He was initially found guilty of complicity in the murder by a high court and sentenced to five years in prison in 2014. But the Supreme Court of Appeal in late 2015 found him guilty of murder after prosecutors appealed. In 2016, this extended his sentence to 6 years in prison, far less than the 15-year minimum that prosecutors had sought.
In 2017, the Supreme Court increased his sentence to 13 years and five months in prison, saying the 6-year sentence was “extraordinarily low”.
“Mr Pistorius will serve the remainder of his sentence at home, doing community work and will be monitored by authorities to ensure he complies with the terms of his parole until the end of his sentence,” it said. in the announcement of the Department of Prison Service, published on Friday.
Before the verdict, a spokesman for Ms Steenkamp’s family, Rob Matthews, read a statement from her mother June, which explained the impact her murder has had on her family.
“I am not convinced that Oscar has been rehabilitated. Rehabilitation requires the person to take full responsibility for the crime, tell the truth and then accept the consequences,” said Ms June Steenkamp’s statement, read by pardon spokesman Rob Matthews.
After the release of the decision to release the athlete Pistorius on bail, the lawyer of the Steenkamp family, Tania Koen told the Reuters news agency that it was not a sudden decision.
June Steenkamp was pleased the parole board had taken her statement into consideration, attorney Cohen said.
“They have placed certain conditions on Mr. Oscar’s bail decision that he must continue anger management therapy,” attorney Cohen said.
Mr. Pistorius’ lawyer declined to immediately comment on the bail decision.
A number of factors are usually considered by the parole board, including the nature of the crime, likelihood of recidivism, behavior in prison, physical and mental condition, and threats a parolee may face.
Mr Pistorius’ application for parole in March was rejected because he had not served the minimum prison sentence under parole rules.
However, the Constitutional Court said in October that Pistorius had served half of his sentence on March 21, meaning he met his parole obligations as the start date of his sentence was July 2017, not November of 2017.