Oscar Pistorius, the former Paralympic and Olympic sprinter, has been released from prison in South Africa after serving nine years for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. The parole board granted Pistorius’ release in November, as he had completed half of his 13-year sentence, making him eligible for parole under South African law.
Pistorius left the Atteridgeville Correctional Centre on Friday morning and will be under parole conditions until his sentence expires in 2029. The details of his release and transportation plans were kept confidential by the Department of Correctional Services to avoid potential security threats.
Reeva Steenkamp’s mother, June Steenkamp, expressed her desire to live her remaining years in peace following Pistorius’ release. She emphasized that no amount of time served could bring her daughter back, and those left behind are serving a life sentence.
Oscar Pistorius claimed innocence throughout the trial, asserting that he had mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder when he shot her four times through a locked bathroom door on February 14, 2013. Despite his plea, he was initially convicted of manslaughter in 2014, but a higher court overturned the decision, upgrading it to murder in 2015 and increasing his sentence to six years. The sentence was further increased to 13 years and five months in 2017 after prosecutors appealed, deeming the initial punishment too lenient.
Under South Africa’s “Restorative Justice” process, Pistorius became eligible for parole in March 2023, given his good behavior and completion of half his sentence. He will now serve the remainder of his sentence in the country’s community corrections system, attending programs on gender-based violence and continuing anger management therapy.
General parole conditions, including specific hours for being at home, prohibition of alcohol and other substances, and participation in designated programs, will apply to Pistorius. Media interviews are also restricted for him, similar to other parolees.
June Steenkamp remains critical of Pistorius’ release, expressing doubt about his rehabilitation and emphasizing the importance of genuine remorse. She also voiced concerns for the safety of other women, questioning whether rehabilitation adequately addressed potential issues.
The pain of Reeva Steenkamp’s tragic death on February 14, 2013, remains vivid for her parents, who have struggled to come to terms with the loss. June Steenkamp highlighted the ongoing grief and emphasized that conditions imposed on Pistorius include anger management courses and programs addressing gender-based violence.
Oscar Pistorius, once celebrated as the “Blade Runner” for his achievements with carbon-fiber prosthetic legs, faced a significant fall from grace. His presence in the Olympics in 2012 was initially praised as a triumph over adversity, but subsequent events led to his description as a “fallen hero” during his second court sentencing in 2016.
Source: News Africa