Former South African Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius will be released from prison in early January after being granted parole on Friday ten years after the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in a case that captured the planet.
“The Department of Prison Services confirms the conditional release of Mr. Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius, effective January 5, 2024,” the prison authority said in a press release.
The former athlete will be free, but “under surveillance” and required to remain within a certain perimeter of the suburbs of the capital Pretoria, the administration added.
During his parole, which “will last until December 5, 2029,” Pistorius will have to follow a reintegration program that includes “therapy for his anger” as well as “for violence against women,” a press officer told reporters. spokesman for the victim’s family, Rob Matthews. They will also have to participate in affairs of general interest.
The ad hoc commission, made up of members of the prison service and ordinary civilians, met in the morning at the prison near Pretoria where Pistorius, 37, is still being held.
She considered that “the first offender benefits from “positive support” and that his parole is in accordance with the law.
Pistorius “has not rehabilitated” himself in prison, said June Steenkamp, the victim’s mother. “I don’t believe Oscar’s version,” she added in a written statement submitted to the commission.
The family, which did not formally oppose the request for early release, said they were “satisfied” with the conditions imposed on Pistorius.
On the night of February 13-14, 2013, Oscar Pistorius killed his partner, model Reeva Steenkamp (29), by shooting her four times through the bathroom door of her bedroom in his ultra-secure Pretoria home.
The rich, famous, six-time Paralympic champion was crowned with glory at the time. He had become a sporting legend a year earlier by lining up with the able-bodied in the 400 meters at the London Olympics, a first for a double amputee.
“Blade Runner”, as he is called because of his carbon prosthetics, claims that he believed in the presence of intruders. He was sentenced to five years in prison for manslaughter after the first trial in 2014.
The prosecutor’s office considers the justice too lenient and requests a reclassification of the murder. In 2017, the Supreme Court of Appeal finally sentenced Pistorius to more than 13 years in prison. Abandoned by his sponsors, ruined, the fallen idol sells his house to pay his lawyers.
As part of his parole application, Oscar Pistorius met the parents of Reeva Steenkamp last year. A mandatory step whose goal, according to the authorities, is to ensure that detainees “recognize the harm caused.”
In March, the first request was rejected. To everyone’s surprise, the prison services assessed that Pistorius, who was sentenced to 13 years and 5 months in prison in the appeal process, did not serve the minimum prescribed period of detention.
In South Africa, prisoners can benefit from early release after serving half of their sentences. Since Pistorius was convicted in the first instance, then several times on appeal, it was calculated that, based on the number starting from the date of his last conviction, he did not serve the minimum time.
But the Constitutional Court contradicted this calculation, ruling last month that the count should start from the date of his first detention.
The whole process was “very emotionally difficult”, the family’s lawyer Tania Koen told AFP.