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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Oscar Pistorius released from prison after nearly 9 years for girlfriend’s killing

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — The release of Olympic sprinter Oscar ‌Pistorius from prison on Friday has sparked mixed‍ reactions across South Africa. Pistorius, who gained global fame as⁣ a double-amputee competing at the ‌highest level of his sport, served nearly nine​ years for the killing of his ⁢girlfriend, model Reeva⁤ Steenkamp.

Pistorius, ⁤37,⁣ quietly left the Atteridgeville Correctional Center in Pretoria and was processed at a parole office ⁣before being released to his family, Department of⁣ Corrections spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo told the Associated Press.‍ Nxumalo, who ‍referred​ to Pistorius’ release as an “operation” designed to avoid a media‌ scramble, declined‌ to give further details.

Despite the⁤ controversy surrounding his release, Pistorius will live under strict ⁢parole conditions, including a ban on speaking to the media, ‌until his sentence expires⁣ in‍ December 2029.​ He is expected to initially live ⁣at his uncle’s mansion in the upscale Pretoria​ suburb of Waterkloof, ⁢which is where he stayed during his seven-month trial⁤ in 2014.

Steenkamp’s ⁣mother, June Steenkamp, said in a statement⁤ Friday she had accepted Pistorius’ parole, although the pain ​of her daughter’s death was “still ‌raw and‍ real.” Steenkamp’s father,​ Barry Steenkamp, died last ⁣year.

“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.”

The Department of Corrections‍ has emphasized that the champion Paralympic⁢ sprinter’s release — ‌like every other offender on parole — does not mean ‍he has ⁢completed his sentence.

Pistorius’ parole conditions include restrictions on ⁣when⁢ he’s allowed​ to leave‍ home, a ban on consuming alcohol, and orders that he must attend programs on anger⁣ management and violence against women. ⁤He⁣ must also perform community service.

Once‍ a wealthy athlete who ⁣drove sports ⁢cars and fancy motorcycles ​and had endorsements‌ from Nike, Pistorius ​was ​left broke after his⁣ lengthy murder trial, his chief defense lawyer said in 2014. He sold the house where he killed Steenkamp to pay some of his legal bills.

Before the killing, Pistorius was seen as an inspiring role model ⁢after having ​had both of his legs amputated below the knee as a baby because of ⁢a congenital condition. He ‌became a champion sprinter on‍ his carbon-fiber ⁣running blades and made⁤ history by competing against nondisabled athletes at the 2012 London Olympics.

His ⁤murder trial ‌destroyed his⁣ image. He was ‍accused of being prone to angry⁢ outbursts and acting recklessly with guns, while witnesses testified about altercations he‍ had with​ others, including an argument in which he allegedly⁣ threatened to ⁢break a man’s legs.

Reaction to Pistorius’ parole has been muted in South Africa, in stark contrast ‌to the first days ​and months after Steenkamp’s killing, which sparked angry‍ protests outside ⁢of the courthouse calling for​ him to receive a long prison sentence. ⁣There ⁣is no death penalty in South Africa.

“He has ticked all ⁣the necessary boxes,”‌ said Themba Masango, secretary general of Not In My Name International, a group that campaigns against violence against women. “And we can only wish and hope Oscar Pistorius will⁢ come out a better human being.”

“We tend to ⁣forget ​that there is ‍a possibility where somebody can be rehabilitated.”

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Truth Media Network
Truth Media Network
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