Pistorius was released 11 years after killing his girlfriend

Pistorius was released 11 years after killing his girlfriend

South Africa’s former Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius was released on parole on Friday, nearly 11 years after murdering his girlfriend in a crime that shocked a country plagued by violence against women.

Pistorius – known as the “Blade Runner” for his carbon-fibre prosthetic legs – shot and killed 29-year-old model Reeva Steenkamp through a closed bathroom door on Valentine’s Day in 2013.

He has repeatedly said he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder when he fired four shots in the bathroom at his Pretoria home, and has made several appeals against his conviction on that basis.

The Department of Correctional Services () is able to confirm that Oscar Pistorius is a parolee effective January 5, 2024. He was admitted to the community corrections system and is now at home,” the country’s prisons department said in a statement.

Pistorius, now 37, spent about eight-and-a-half years in prison and seven months on house arrest before being sentenced for murder. In November, the parole board decided to release him after serving more than half of his sentence. Pistorius was released

In a statement shared Friday by a Steenkamp family lawyer, Reeva’s mother June said: “There can never be justice if your loved one never comes back, and no amount of time served will bring Reeva back.”

“We, the ones who stayed behind, are serving a life sentence,” said June Steenkamp, whose only desire was to live in peace after Pistorius was released on parole.

He will be monitored by a monitoring officer until the end of his sentence in December 2029, who will have to inform Pistorius if he looks for job opportunities or moves to a new address.

He is required to continue anger management treatment and attend sessions on gender-based violence as part of his parole conditions, the Steenkamp family said.

June Steenkamp said the conditions imposed by the parole board reaffirmed her faith in South Africa’s justice system because they send a clear message that gender-based violence is taken seriously.

Pistorius’ lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment on his release on Friday.

Local media expect him to stay at the home of his uncle Arnold Pistorius in an affluent suburb of Pretoria.

South Africans have had mixed reactions to his release, with some feeling he had served his time, while others felt his sentence was too lenient.

“He paid the price. Let him rebuild his life,” a local resident told reporters gathered outside his uncle’s house on Friday morning.

From Paralympic star to convicted killer

Pistorius was once a darling of the sporting world and a leading voice for disabled athletes, for whom he campaigned to be allowed to compete alongside able-bodied participants in major sporting events.

In August 2012, months before his girlfriend was shot, Pistorius became the first double amputee to compete at the London Olympics, where he reached the semi-finals of the 400 metres.

He won two gold medals in the Paralympics.

In October 2014, he was first sentenced to five years by the High Court for culpable homicide. After his lawyers appealed that decision, the Supreme Court found him guilty of murder in December 2015.

But he served just six years when he was sentenced in July 2016, despite prosecutors arguing for a minimum sentence of 15 years.

The Supreme Court then doubled his sentence to 13 years and five months in November 2017, describing his earlier term as “shockingly lenient”.

Pistorius met Reeva’s father, Barry Steenkamp, in 2022 at a “victim-offender dialogue”, an integral part of South Africa’s restorative justice system.

Based in part on how indigenous cultures dealt with crime before Europeans colonized South Africa, restorative justice aims to provide closure to the affected parties to the crime rather than punish the perpetrators.

He was initially denied parole in March. However, the Constitutional Court later ruled that he had served half of his sentence by March 21 and was eligible for parole until July 2016, when he was first sentenced for murder, instead of November 2017.

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