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Oscar Pistorius released on parole in January

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Former South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to more than 13 years behind bars for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp.
Oscar Pistorius

Former South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius has been granted parole and will be released from prison in January.

Pistorius was sentenced to more than 13 years behind bars for the murder of his former girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Steenkamp was shot by Pistorius on Valentine’s Day in 2013.

Here’s what you need to know.

Oscar Pistorius

Pistorius rose to international fame after winning gold in the 100, 200, and 400-metre sprints at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games.

His fibre-blade prosthetic legs earned him the nickname “Blade Runner”.

Ahead of the 2012 Olympics in London, Pistorius was a Paralympic ambassador.

Shooting

Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and law graduate, died after being shot multiple times through a locked bathroom door in 2013. Pistorius admitted to firing the gun but said he thought he was shooting at a trespasser.

Pistorius was sentenced to five years in jail in 2014 for culpable homicide (where the intention to kill a person is not proven). However, this charge was upgraded to murder in 2015.

Prosecutors called for a minimum of 15 years imprisonment for Pistorius, but he was sentenced to six years in 2016.

The following year, the Supreme Court increased Pistorius’ sentence to 13 years and five months.

Pistorius applied for parole in March but was rejected because he had not yet completed a minimum detention period — 50% of his sentence.

Parole

In October, a court reassessed the application and found Pistorius had surpassed that minimum detention period because he had been imprisoned since 2016, allowing him to apply for parole a second time later in the year.

His application was granted and he will be released on 5 January 2024.

A spokesperson read a letter from Steenkamp’s mother after the parole hearing.

It said she forgave Pistorius “long ago as I knew most certainly that I would not be able to survive if I had to cling onto my anger.”

 

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