Oscar Pistorius is released from prison almost eleven years after killing his girlfriend

Former South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, Paralympic world record holder in 100, 200 and 400 meters and in prison since 2014 for having killed his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, ​​a year earlier, was released from prison this Friday after having obtained parole, confirmed the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) of South Africa.

“The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) confirms that Oscar Pistorius is on parole, effective January 5, 2024. He was admitted to the community prison system and is now home,” said this institution through a release.

Pistorius paroled on November 24

Prison authorities granted Pistorius parole on November 24, during a closed-door hearing at Atteridgeville Prison in Pretoria.

This Wednesday, the DCS indicated that, despite the athlete’s “high public profile”, the “general conditions” of that regime will apply to him, such as, for example, being “at home at certain times of the day.”

“You will not be able to consume alcohol or other substances. (…) Like other people on parole, Pistorius is prohibited from conducting interviews with the media,” the agency added, specifying that these restrictions will be valid until the sentence expires in 2029.

Reeva Steenkamp’s mother speaks

In a statement reported by local media, the mother of the murdered model, June Steenkamp, ​​said this Friday that the pain over her daughter’s death is still “raw and real” and regretted that “the intensity of the (media) coverage of the trial” and the subsequent parole requests meant the “loss” of his privacy” and “made it difficult to grieve peacefully.”

“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,” said Steenkamp, ​​although he stressed that “there can never be justice if your loved one never returns.”

“The conditions imposed by the parole board, which include anger management courses and programs on gender violence, send a clear message that gender violence is taken seriously,” he added.

Second time Pistorius requested parole

This was the second time that Pistorius requested conditional release, which was denied last March despite the fact that the convicted man argued that both his time in prison and the minimum required to qualify for that measure were unfairly increased, thus violating his “fundamental rights.” ”.

Pistorius, 37, then took his case to the Constitutional Court of South Africa, which last October ruled that the athlete was eligible for parole.

Before the November hearing began where it was finally granted, June Steenkamp said she was not “convinced” that “Oscar has been rehabilitated,” according to a letter read by her lawyers.

Conviction for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp

Pistorius is serving time for shooting dead Reeva Steenkamp, ​​then 29, at her home in Pretoria on Valentine’s Day 2013, when he was at the peak of his fame and had amassed a fortune from his sporting career.

He shot her four times through the closed bathroom door and has tried unsuccessfully to defend that he panicked when he mistook the model for a thief who had entered the home through the bathroom window.

“I don’t believe in Oscar’s version. (…) I don’t know anyone who does it. “My dear daughter screamed for her life, loud enough for the neighbors to hear,” she noted last November, in the letter from her, the victim’s mother.

He did not see Pistorius’ release from prison this Friday, however, the father of the murdered model, Barry Steenkamp, ​​who died at the age of 80 last September.

Media trial of Oscar Pistorius

Following a trial that garnered worldwide media attention, Pistorius was initially sentenced in October 2014 to five years in prison for manslaughter, but the Prosecutor’s Office appealed the ruling.

In 2015, South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal overturned that conviction and found him guilty of murder, referring the case back to a lower court which, in July 2016, sentenced Pistorius to six years in prison for murder.

However, after another appeal by the Prosecutor’s Office, the Supreme Court of Appeal increased the sentence in November 2017 to fifteen years, the minimum contemplated by law in cases of murder except in exceptional situations.

In practice, that sentence meant thirteen years and five months in prison, after deducting the time that Pistorius – who spent a period on bail and under house arrest – had already spent in prison.

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 global fame by running at the London Olympic Games (2012) on two carbon prostheses.

By Mian Saeed Ahmed khan