Oscar Pistorius must remain in prison: no early release
Oscar Pistorius must remain in prison. The responsible committee submitted an application for early release on Friday South Africa rejected. Pistorius did not serve the required minimum term following a decision by the Supreme Court of Appeals, the Department of Corrections said.
The former top athlete, who was nicknamed “Blade Runner” because of his successes despite his disability, was sentenced to 13 years and five months after a long trial over several instances because he shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp four times through a heart on Valentine’s Day ten years ago closed toilet door had killed.
In South Africa, halfway through the sentence, convicts can apply for early release. Pistorius had already applied last year and met Reeva’s father, Barry Steenkamp. The meeting was part of a so-called victim-perpetrator dialogue, part of the rehabilitation process in South Africa, to decide on such an application.
Reeva’s mother, June Steenkamp, attended Friday’s hearing at Atteridgeville prison in Pretoria. “I don’t believe his story, I don’t think Oscar is remorseful or redeemed,” she told reporters. In interviews last year, she had doubted that Pistorius felt any real remorse. Although she has forgiven him because of her faith, that does not mean that he does not have to pay for the crime. From their point of view, he must serve the entire prison term. Some organizations that campaign for women’s rights had also protested against an early release.
Among other things, the panel had to decide whether Pistorius would pose a danger to society if released, whether he had shown good behavior in prison and whether he would show remorse. Various witnesses were interviewed, including Pistorius himself. The hearing on Friday was not public.
Convicted first of manslaughter, then of murder
The now 36-year-old Pistorius said after the fact that he had suspected a burglar in the toilet. A court had sentenced him to five years in prison for manslaughter in 2014, the next instance two years later to six years for murder because he knew that there was a high probability that he would kill the person in the toilet. Finally, a year later, the Supreme Court described the sentence as “shockingly lenient”.
The judge said at the time that he had found no reason why Pistorius should be spared the prescribed minimum sentence of 15 years. The time he had previously spent in prison was counted. The murder had sparked immense international media interest. Pistorius was a national hero in South Africa and a celebrated sports star internationally. At the age of eleven months, both lower legs had to be amputated due to a deformity. He became known as “the fastest man without legs”, won six gold medals in the Paralympic Games and in 2012 became the first amputee athlete to compete in the Olympic Games with carbon prostheses.