S. Africa’s Pistorius in fresh parole bid a decade after murderFri, 24 Nov 2023 09:56:19 GMT

South Africa’s ex-Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius on Friday sought early release from prison, a decade after killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, despite her mother telling his parole hearing that he had “not been rehabilitated”.Steenkamp’s mother is not opposing parole. But in a statement to the board assessing whether Pistorius should be released, June Steenkamp said he had not shown true remorse.”Rehabilitation requires someone to engage honestly, with the full truth of his crime and the consequences thereof. Nobody can claim to have remorse if they’re not able to engage fully with the truth,” she said.  Pistorius, 37, is appearing before a parole board at a correctional centre outside Pretoria where he is currently detained. The board is reviewing whether he is fit for social reintegration, the department of correctional services said. “We are not sure whether the inmate, if successful, is going home today or there will be other terms like he has to go through other programmes,” correctional services spokesman Singabakho Nxumalo told AFP.It is Pistorius’ second shot at parole in less than eight months. He lost a first bid in March when the board found Pistorius had not completed the minimum detention period required to be let out. The Constitutional Court last month ruled that was a mistake, paving the way for a new hearing.Pistorius killed Steenkamp, a model, in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013, firing four times through the bathroom door of his ultra-secure Pretoria house.Known worldwide as the “Blade Runner” for his carbon-fibre prosthetics, he was found guilty of murder and given a 13-year jail sentence in 2017 after a lengthy trial and several appeals.He had pleaded not guilty and denied killing Steenkamp in a rage, saying he mistook her for a burglar.- My child ‘screamed for life’ -But June Steenkamp said she does not believe him. “I do not believe Oscar’s version,” she said in her submission to the board that was read to the media outside the detention centre by a family spokesman.”My dear child screamed for her life loud enough for the neighbours to hear her.” Nevertheless, she said she forgave the former sprinter “long ago, as I knew most certainly that I would not be able to survive if I had to cling to my anger.”As part of his rehabilitation, Pistorius met Steenkamp’s parents last year, in a process authorities said aims to ensure inmates “acknowledge the harm they have caused”.June Steenkamp was not present at the parole hearing on Friday and was being represented by a family spokesman and a lawyer.Steenkamp’s father Barry died in September aged 80. “I’ve no doubt that he died of a broken heart,” the widow said in her statement.Family spokesman Rob Matthews said it was going to be very difficult for June Steenkamp to attend the proceedings given what she had recently gone through. “It’s been a real tough road that June has travelled… in March there was a parole hearing and it took all her courage to attend that,” he said. Matthews is the father of a university student murdered in 2004, who became friends with the Steenkamps as the two families went through parallel parole proceedings for the killers of their daughters.- ‘Immediate release’ -Offenders in South Africa are automatically eligible for parole consideration after serving half of their sentence.The board, normally made up of correctional services and community members, assesses whether an inmate still poses a danger to society. This takes into account the seriousness of the offence as well as Pistorius’ behaviour behind bars. Lawyers for Pistorius have said they hope that the delay caused by the mistake made in calculating the minimum detention period earlier this year will be taken into account and the ex-athlete be granted “an immediate release” on Friday.  Normally, it can take weeks before a prisoner who is granted parole is effectively discharged.Release usually comes with some conditions, such as monitoring from authorities and duty to report to a community correction centre. If denied, the offender has the right to approach the courts for review.