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South Africa: Pistorius’ Parole, Even If Granted, Could Take Time (lawyer)

SOUTH AFRICA – Former South African Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius, convicted of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp ten years ago, is unlikely to be released immediately even if he is granted parole on Friday, a lawyer for the victim’s family said.

The National Parole Board said on Monday that it would “review the case of Oscar Pistorius on Friday, November 24, 2023”.

However, even if his application were accepted, the ex-athlete would have to wait weeks before regaining his freedom, due to an “internal procedure” of the Department of Corrections (DCS), according to the Steenkamp family’s lawyer, Tania Koen.

If “parole is granted, the DCS follows an internal procedure, which usually takes place within a month”, Koen told AFP.

Several legal experts interviewed by AFP pointed out that the time between the decision to grant parole and the actual release of the prisoner varies on a case-by-case basis, with some suggesting that the wait could depend on “political will”.

The double amputee, who has been serving his sentence since 2014, had his first application for early release rejected in March.

The DCS stated that Pistorius had not completed the minimum period of detention required for release.

In South Africa, prisoners are automatically eligible for early release after serving half their sentence. As Pistorius had appealed several times against his initial conviction, the authorities based their count on his last sentence.

But the Constitutional Court contradicted this version, ruling last month that the count should start from the date of the first time Pistorius was put behind bars.

On the night of February 13-14, 2013, the South African athlete, who turns 37 on Wednesday, killed his partner, 29-year-old model Reeva Steenkamp, by firing a shotgun through her bedroom bathroom door in his ultra-secure Pretoria residence, a murder that shocked the world.

Arrested in the early hours of February 2013, he had pleaded not guilty and denied killing Steenkamp in a fit of rage, claiming to have mistaken her for a burglar.

Africanews with AFP

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