Oscar Pistorius released on parole after serving nine years for murder

Former Paralympian Oscar Pistorius has been released on parole from a prison in South Africa nearly 11 years after he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The athlete was quietly taken out of the Atteridgeville Correctional Centre in Pretoria on Friday as media waited outside the facility to get a glimpse of him.

Pistorius, 37, served nearly nine years of his sentence of 13 years and five months for killing Steenkamp, 29, through a locked bathroom door on Valentine’s Day 2013. He was approved for parole in November.

Serious offenders in South Africa are eligible for parole after serving at least half their sentence. He will live under strict conditions until the remainder of his sentence expires in December 2029.

Steenkamp’s mother, June, said his release on parole had “affirmed” her and her late husband’s belief in the country’s justice system.

“The conditions imposed by the parole board, which includes anger management courses and programmes on gender-based violence, send out a clear message that gender-based violence is taken seriously,” she said.

Pistorius was expected to initially live at his uncle’s mansion in the upscale Waterkloof suburb of Pretoria.

His parole conditions include restrictions on leaving his home and abstaining from alcohol. He must regularly meet with parole officials at home and correctional services offices and will face unannounced visits. He also can’t leave Waterkloof without permission.

Al Jazeera’s Fehmida Miller, reporting from outside Atteridgeville, said Steenkamp’s family had always doubted that he had been fully rehabilitated and accused him of lying about the killing.

“Her family has never supported his bid for parole, saying that they don’t believe that he is remorseful … and should come clean about what exactly happened that night,” Miller said.

Pistorius is also not allowed to speak to the media as part of his parole conditions.

Department of Corrections officials had said Pistorius’s release time would not be announced in advance and he would not be “paraded” because they hoped to keep him away from the media glare.

Known as the “Blade Runner” for his carbon-fibre prosthetic legs, Pistorius went from a public hero as a Paralympic champion sprinter to a convicted killer in hearings that caught the world’s attention a decade ago.

Both of his legs were amputated below the knee as a baby because of a congenital condition. He became a champion sprinter on his running blades and made history by competing at the 2012 London Olympics.

“Has there been justice for Reeva? Has Oscar served enough time? There can never be justice if your loved one is never coming back, and no amount of time served will bring Reeva back,” June Steenkamp said.

“We who remain behind are the ones serving a life sentence.”

June said she will continue to focus on the Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp Foundation, which combats domestic violence, to continue her daughter’s legacy.

Pistorius was initially convicted of culpable homicide and later faced a murder charge with an increased sentence. Despite being released on house arrest in 2015, he returned to prison in 2016, first at Kgosi Mampuru II Prison and was later relocated to Atteridgeville due to its better suitability for disabled prisoners.

Pistorius has maintained that he shot Steenkamp, a model and law graduate, by mistake.

Related Articles

Back to top button