(Pretoria) Former South African Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius will be released from prison in early January, having obtained conditional release on Friday ten years after the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, in a case that captivated the planet.
“The Department of Correctional Services confirms the conditional release of Mr. Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius, effective January 5, 2024,” the prison administration announced in a press release.
The former athlete will be free, but “subject to surveillance” and obliged to stay within a certain perimeter of a suburb of the capital Pretoria, the administration added.
During his placement on parole, which “will last until December 5, 2029”, Pistorius will have to follow a reintegration program including “therapy for his anger”, as well as “on violence against women”, the press officer told the press. spokesperson for the victim’s family, Rob Matthews. He will also have to participate in work of general interest.
An ad hoc commission, made up of members of the prison services and ordinary civilians, met in the morning in the prison near Pretoria where Pistorius, 37, is still detained.
She considered that the “first-time offender” benefits from “positive support” and that his placement on conditional release is in accordance with the law.
Pistorius “did not rehabilitate” in prison, judged June Steenkamp, mother of the victim. “I do not believe Oscar’s version,” she added in a written statement submitted to the commission.
The family, which had not however formally opposed the request for early release, said it was “satisfied” with the conditions imposed on Pistorius.
On the night of February 13-14, 2013, Oscar Pistorius shot dead his partner, model Reeva Steenkamp, 29, shooting four times through the bathroom door of her bedroom in his ultra-secure Pretoria home.
Rich, famous, the six-time Paralympic champion was crowned with glory at the time. He had become a sporting legend a year earlier by lining up with the able-bodied in the 400 meters at the London Olympic Games, a first for a double leg amputee.
“Blade Runner”, as he is nicknamed in reference to his carbon prostheses, claims to have believed in the presence of an intruder. He was sentenced to five years in prison for manslaughter following his first trial in 2014.
The prosecution considers justice too lenient and calls for a reclassification as murder. In 2017, the Supreme Court of Appeal finally sentenced Pistorius to more than 13 years in prison. Abandoned by his sponsors, ruined, the fallen idol sells his house to pay his lawyers.
As part of his request for parole, Oscar Pistorius met Reeva Steenkamp’s parents last year. A mandatory step aimed, according to the authorities, at ensuring that detainees “recognize the harm caused”.
In March, a first request was rejected. The prison services had estimated to everyone’s surprise that Pistorius, sentenced to 13 years and 5 months in prison on appeal, had not served the minimum period of detention required.
In South Africa, prisoners can benefit from early release after half their sentence has been completed. Pistorius having been convicted at first instance, then several times on appeal, it was calculated that, according to a count starting from the date of his last conviction, he had not served the minimum time.
But the Constitutional Court contradicted this calculation, ruling last month that the counting should begin on the date of his first placement in detention.
The whole procedure was “very emotionally trying”, the family’s lawyer, Tania Koen, told AFP.