S.Africa’s Pistorius released on parole 11 years after murdering girlfriendFri, 05 Jan 2024 10:11:44 GMT

South Africa’s ex-Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius was released from jail on parole Friday and “is now at home”, authorities said, almost 11 years after he shot dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in a crime that gripped the world.Having served more than half his sentence, the 37-year-old double-amputee was quietly whisked away from the Atteridgeville prison on the outskirts of the capital Pretoria, avoiding the hordes of media gathered outside.”He was admitted into the system of Community Corrections and is now at home,” the department of correctional services said in a statement.Pistorius has been restricted to staying within the Pretoria district of Waterkloof, where his uncle lives, although precise information on his whereabouts has not been confirmed. Known worldwide as “Blade Runner” for his carbon-fibre prosthetics, Pistorius will not be allowed to speak to the media as a condition of his parole.Prison authorities had previously warned the press that there would be no opportunity to photograph or speak to him and provided little detail about the plans for his release, citing “security” concerns. Pistorius killed Steenkamp, a model and law graduate who was 29 years old at the time, in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013, firing four times through the bathroom door of his ultra-secure Pretoria house.The shooting came a year after Pistorius made history by being the first double-amputee to race at Olympic level when he appeared at the London 2012 games.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.- ‘Pain is still raw’ -Shortly before his release, Steenkamp’s mother June issued a statement saying that, while she accepted the decision of the justice system and conditions of his parole, “the pain is still raw and real”. “There can never be justice if your loved one is never coming back, and no amount of time served will bring Reeva back,” she said. “We, who remain behind, are the ones serving a life sentence.”Steenkamp’s father Barry died in September, aged 80, “of a broken heart”, his widow has said. Offenders in South Africa are automatically eligible for parole consideration after serving half their sentence.Pistorius lost a first bid in March when the board found he had not completed the minimum detention period required to be let out.The Constitutional Court in October ruled that was a mistake, paving the way for a November hearing that approved his release.- Anger, gender-based violence therapy -Pistorius would have been required to undergo a pre-release programme to prepare him for life outside prison, authorities said. “An elevated public profile linked to Pistorius does not make him different from other inmates nor warrant inconsistent treatment,” the department of correctional services said.As part of his parole, until the end of his sentence in 2029, Pistorius must undergo therapy for anger and gender-based violence issues.He will also be banned from consuming alcohol and other substances, required to complete community service and also be home at certain hours of the day. The conditions “send out a clear message that gender-based violence is taken seriously” by the justice system, June Steenkamp said Friday. The family established the Reeva Steenkamp Foundation in 2015 to campaign against violence against women.