South Africa: Oscar Pistorius Will Soon Know if He is Released

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South African Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius, who killed his girlfriend 10 years ago, will know in a month if he is eligible for parole, his lawyer said Thursday.

“We have been informed by the parole board that the hearing will take place on March 31,” Julian Knight told AFP.

Pistorius, now 36, killed Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013 by shooting four times through the bathroom door of his ultra-secure Pretoria home.

The former athlete, an amputee below both knees, has always denied killing his girlfriend in a fit of rage, claiming he mistook her for a burglar.

The sprinter, known around the world as “Blade Runner” because of his carbon fiber prostheses, was sentenced to 13 years in prison. 

In South Africa, prisoners are automatically eligible for parole after serving half their sentence. 

The law is the same for all, “Oscar Pistorius is not an exception,” noted with AFP the lawyer of the parents of his victim, Tania Koen.

In accordance with the procedure requiring that the convict meets with the victim or his family, Oscar Pistorius met in early July the parents of Reeva Steenkamp.

The decision is usually known on the day of the hearing or a day later, and “if the decision is negative, the inmate has the right to go to court for a review,” Knight said. 

A year before he killed Steenkamp, Pistorius became a world star when he lined up with able-bodied athletes in the 400 meters at the London Olympics.

He was initially sentenced to six years in prison, but the sentence was later increased to 13 years after the state appealed that it was too lenient.

Source: Africanews