Oscar Pistorius to be released on parole on Oct 20

Former Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius is set to be released from prison next Tuesday (Oct 20), about a year after he was convicted of killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Former Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius is set to be released from prison next Tuesday (Oct 20), about a year after he was convicted of killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. PHOTO: AFP

PRETORIA (AFP) - Oscar Pistorius will be released on parole next week after serving one year of his five-year jail term for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, the South African department of correctional services said on Thursday (Oct 15).

The parole board “approved the placement of offender Oscar Pistorius under correctional supervision as from October 20, 2015,” the department said in a statement. “The parole board considered all submissions, including the offender’s profile report, the directives of the Parole Review Board and the submission of the victim’s family.” 

The Paralympian star’s lawyers had argued that he should have been released and granted house arrest in August after serving one-sixth of his jail term sentence for killing Ms Steenkamp in 2013.

But he remained behind bars after Justice Minister Michael Masutha made a last-minute intervention and the case was referred for review.

After meeting last week, the parole board said it wanted to consult with Ms Steenkamp’s family over Pistorius’s possible release.

Ms Steenkamp’s parents say Pistorius killed their daughter on purpose and have previously contested any parole.

Pistorius’s family had accused officials of bowing to “political and media hype” in denying him parole.

“I do think correctional services have probably considered how unfairly he has been treated. He should have been released on August 21,” Brian Webber, a lawyer representing Pistorius, told AFP last week.

In a trial that made headlines around the world, Pistorius, now 28, was jailed last year for killing Steenkamp, a model and law graduate.

He was found guilty of culpable homicide – a charge equivalent to manslaughter – after saying he shot her through a locked bathroom door because he mistook her for an intruder.

After his release, Pistorius will face a further test on November 3 when prosecutors appeal to South Africa’s Supreme Court for a murder conviction and a tougher sentence.

Once a poster boy for Paralympic sport, Pistorius, known as the “Blade Runner” for the prosthetic legs he wore on the track, rose to global fame when he raced against able-bodied competitors in the 2012 London Olympics.