South Africa’s prisons commission on Friday rejected a parole request by Paralympic Olympic champion Oscar Pistorius, who is accused of killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp 10 years ago. To everyone’s surprise and in a brief press release, the prison services denied that the convict had not yet served enough time to be released early.
“The prisoner has not completed the minimum period of custody as stipulated by the Supreme Court,” the report said, the last panel to convict Pistorius in 2017 after multiple appeals.
In a brief note obtained by AFP dated Tuesday, the court clarified that the sentence imposed on him starts from the date of conviction in 2017 and not from his first conviction in 2014.
“The application has been denied,” Tanya Quinn, a lawyer for the victim’s family, told AFP, welcoming the decision. “It will be reviewed within a year.” Prison Service spokesperson Singabako Inxumalo told reporters that Pistorius will only serve the minimum required until August 2024, when he can apply for early release again.
Pistorius, 36, shot and killed his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013 when he shot her four times through the bathroom door of her high-tech home in Pretoria.
Pistorius has pleaded not guilty and denied killing Steenkamp in a fit of rage, saying he thought he was shooting a burglar. Pistorius, nicknamed “Blade Runner” because of his carbon fiber prostheses, was sentenced to 13 years in prison.
A special committee met on Friday morning at Atteridgeville Prison near Pretoria, where the former athlete is serving his sentence. South African law states that a person charged with murder can benefit from early release once half of the sentence has expired.
In contrast, Steenkamp’s parents protested his early release, believing that Pistorius had never told the truth. “I couldn’t believe his story,” said the victim’s mother, Jan, who was devastated when she got out of jail.
A year before Steenkamp was killed, Pistorius, who had both legs amputated at the age of 11 months, became the first amputee to compete in the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Two weeks later, he won the 400m and 100m relay gold medals 4 times at the Paralympic Games, and finished second in the 200m. In Beijing 2008, he won gold in the 100m, 200m and 400m at the Paralympic Games.
After London 2012, he became a global sporting icon, with sponsors vying for him. But his record plummeted after the murder, and his trial made headlines around the world.
He was initially sentenced to six years in prison, but the sentence was extended to 13 after the South African Public Prosecution Service found the decision “outrageous” and appealed.
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