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Oscar Pistorius Released on Parole After a Decade: A Controversial Journey



In a development that has stirred both emotions and debates, Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee Paralympic and Olympic sprinter, was released from prison on parole on Friday, marking the culmination of a case that has captivated the world for over a decade.

The parole board granted Pistorius’ petition in November, citing that he had served half of his 13-year sentence for the tragic shooting of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, a killing that sent shockwaves around the globe. According to South African law, this made him eligible for parole.

Singabakho Nxumalo, a spokesperson for South Africa’s Correctional Services, confirmed Pistorius’ release from Atteridgeville Correctional Centre, west of Pretoria, on Friday morning. Despite his release, Pistorius will be bound by parole conditions until his sentence officially concludes in 2029.

The tragic incident unfolded on February 14, 2013, when Pistorius shot Steenkamp four times through a locked bathroom door in his Pretoria home. Pistorius consistently maintained that he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder and did not kill her in the heat of a Valentine’s Day argument, as prosecutors argued.

The trial garnered global attention, with Pistorius initially convicted of manslaughter in 2014 and sentenced to five years. However, a higher court overturned the conviction, elevating it to murder in 2015 and subsequently increasing his sentence to six years in prison.

The prosecution appealed, considering the sentence too lenient, leading to a further increase to 13 years and five months by South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal in 2017.

Pistorius became eligible for parole in March 2023, adhering to the law allowing inmates who have served half of their sentence to be considered. This aligns with South Africa’s “Restorative Justice” process, aiming to give offenders the chance to acknowledge and take responsibility for their actions.

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As Pistorius steps back into the community, he will navigate the remainder of his sentence within South Africa’s community corrections system. Notably, his parole conditions include mandatory participation in programs addressing gender-based violence, alongside continued therapy sessions focusing on anger management.

The broader parole conditions stipulate specific hours for him to be at home, abstinence from alcohol and prohibited substances, and active engagement in programs identified by the Correctional Supervision and Parole Board. Oscar Pistorius’ release rekindles reflections on a tumultuous journey that transcended sports headlines, delving deep into legal intricacies and the complexities of restorative justice.

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