Johannesburg, Jan 5 (EFE).- Former South African Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, in prison since 2014 for killing his girlfriend, was released on parole on Friday, the country’s Department of Correctional Services (DCS) said.
“Oscar Pistorius is a parolee, effectively from Jan. 5, 2024. He was admitted into the system of Community Corrections and is now at home,” DCS said in a statement.
Pistorius, a double amputee, was granted parole on Nov. 24, during a closed-door hearing at Atteridgeville Prison in northern South Africa’s Pretoria.
On Wednesday, the DCS said Pistorius would be monitored until the completion of his sentence in 2029 and that his public profile “does not make him different from other inmates.”
The general parole conditions apply to Pistorius who is “expected to be home at particular hours of the day. He may not consume alcohol and other prohibited substances,” the DCS said.
Further, he is restricted from conducting media interviews.
Pistorius, 37, was convicted for shooting his 29-year-old girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, at his Pretoria home on Valentine’s Day 2013, when he was at the peak of his fame and had amassed a fortune from his sporting career.
The former athlete has claimed that he mistook his girlfriend for a burglar and hence shot her four times through a closed bathroom door.
June Steenkamp, the mother of the murdered model, told local media on Friday that the pain of her daughter’s death is still “raw and real.”
“We have always known that parole is part of the South African legal system, and we have always said that the law must take its course,” she said.
But “there can never be justice if your loved one is never coming back,” she added.
Pistorius had requested conditional release in March but was denied, following which, he took his case to South Africa’s Constitutional Court, which ruled that he was eligible for parole in October.
Following a trial that captured worldwide media attention, Pistorius was initially sentenced in October 2014 to five years in prison for culpable homicide, but the Prosecutor’s Office appealed the ruling.
In 2015, South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal overturned culpable homicide conviction and found him guilty of murder, remanding the case back to the trial court for resentencing.
In July 2016, the trial court sentenced Pistorius to six years in prison for murder.
However, after another appeal by the prosecution, the Supreme Court of Appeal raised the sentence in November 2017 to 15 years, the minimum term under South African law for murder cases barring exceptional situations.
That sentence effectively meant 13 years and five months in prison, when allowing for the time Pistorius had already served.
Under South African law, offenders who have served half their sentence are eligible for parole, a milestone Pistorius had claimed to have reached in his appeal for conditional release.
Born with a genetic problem that led his parents to decide to amputate both of his legs below the knees when he was eleven months old, Pistorius achieved worldwide fame by running at the London Olympic Games (2012) on two carbon prostheses. EFE