Thursday, February 29, 2024

South Africa: Oscar Pistorius released from jail on parole

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

South African Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius has been released from jail nearly 11 years after killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

He walked free on Friday after being granted parole last November haven served nine years for the crime which he was convicted of.

South African authorities have said confirmed that Pistorius is now back home from jail.

“The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) is able to confirm that Oscar Pistorius is a parolee, effectively from 5 January 2024. He was admitted into the system of Community Corrections and is now at home,” the DCS said in a statement.

Ms Steenkamp’s mother, June has said she accepts the decision to release the former athlete – but noted that her family was the one “serving a life sentence”.

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“There can never be justice if your loved one is never coming back, and no amount of time served will bring Reeva back. “We, who remain behind, are the ones serving a life sentence,” she said.

From grace to grass

Pistorius now 37, was a hero and a public figure in South Africa for being a Paralympic champion. He was known as the “Blade Runner” for his carbon-fibre prosthetic legs.

But he became a convicted killer in hearings that caught the world’s attention after he shot and killed Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day in 2013.

Oscar Pistorius (R) fired four shots through a bathroom door, killing Reeva Steenkamp (L). Photo Credit: AFP

He was first jailed for five years in 2014 for culpable homicide by a high court, but the Supreme Court of Appeal in late 2015 found him guilty of the more serious charge of murder after an appeal by prosecutors.

Prosecutors were seeking 15-year minimum jail term but his total sentence was lengthened to six years in 2016.

In 2017, the Supreme Court more than doubled his total sentence to 13 years and five months, saying the six-year jail term was “shockingly lenient”.

Pistorius was denied parole in March this year after it was ruled that he had not completed the minimum detention period required to be considered for parole.

The Constitutional Court said in October last year however that Pistorius had served half of his sentence by March 21, which meant he was eligible, after his sentence was backdated to July 2016 instead of November 2017.

Conditions of the parole

Typically to be granted a parole, a parole board would have to take into consideration, the nature of the crime, the possibility of reoffending, conduct in prison, physical and mental wellbeing and potential threats a prisoner may face if released.

Pistorius will live under strict conditions now that he has been released. He will be unable to speak to the media – until his sentence expires in 2029.

He is believed to have gone to live at the home of his uncle Arnold Pistorius in an upmarket suburb of the capital, Pretoria.

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