Oscar Pistorius, South African Olympic Runner, Granted Parole; Set for Release From Prison on January 5th

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Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee Olympic runner, has been granted parole after serving more than half of his sentence for the killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in 2013. The Department of Corrections announced that Pistorius would be released from prison on January 5 but will be under constant supervision by parole officials for the remaining five years of his sentence.

As part of his parole conditions, Pistorius won’t be allowed to leave the Pretoria area without permission, attend programs to address anger issues and violence against women, and perform community service. His activities, including changes in residence or employment, need to be reported to his assigned monitoring official.

Notably, Pistorius won’t wear a monitoring bracelet as it’s not part of the parole procedure in South Africa. His sentence is set to expire on December 5, 2029.

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This decision was made at a hearing in Pretoria, marking the second parole hearing for Pistorius in eight months. He was initially convicted of culpable homicide, which was later overturned, and he was convicted of murder. His initial six-year sentence for murder was later increased to 13 years and five months.

During his trial, Pistorius claimed he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder and shot her through a bathroom door in fear. The prosecution contended that it was a result of a heated argument, and Pistorius acted recklessly, knowing someone was behind the door.

Reeva Steenkamp’s parents haven’t opposed Pistorius’ parole, but her mother, June Steenkamp, expressed doubts about his account of the events and felt unconvinced by his version of the incident.

Pistorius, a celebrated athlete known as the “Blade Runner,” had an illustrious sporting career before the tragic incident. He was the first double-amputee to compete in the Olympics and a multiple Paralympic sprinting champion.

Since his incarceration, there have been occasional glimpses into Pistorius’ life in prison, with reports of him holding Bible classes and engaging in farming activities within the correctional facility. Despite being described as a “model prisoner,” there were incidents, including a confrontation with another inmate that resulted in medical treatment.

Pistorius’ parole will mark his first public appearance in almost a decade. He is expected to live at his uncle’s residence in Pretoria, where he stayed during his trial.

The case of Oscar Pistorius, once a global sporting icon, remains a high-profile and controversial one, continuing to draw public attention and debate.