A South African prison has released Oscar Pistorius on parole after the double-amputee Olympic runner served nine years behind bars for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013.
According to BBC, Pistorius, who was sentenced to 13 years and five months in prison for the murder, was said to be “at home” as of Friday morning, officials said. He is said to be staying at his uncle’s residence at an opulent area in the capital Pretoria.
Pistorius fatally shot Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day in 2013 when he fired four times through the door of his bedroom toilet. But the paralympic champion insisted that he shot his girlfriend through the bathroom door thinking she was an intruder, Face2Face Africa reported. The deceased model’s parents were, however, adamant he knowingly opened fire on their daughter. Pistorius and Steenkamp had been dating for three months before her murder.
Steenkamp’s mother, June Steenkamp, said that though she did not take any issue with Pistorius being released on parole, it was her family that was rather “serving a life sentence.”
Pistorius, now 37, was initially sentenced to five years in prison after he was found guilty of Steenkamp’s killing. But in 2015, he was found guilty of murder on appeal, and the sentence was later increased to 13 years and five months.
By law, convicted offenders in South Africa become eligible for parole when they serve half of their full sentence, BBC reported. In a statement, June Steenkamp said that their family had “always known that parole is part of the South African legal system” and always acknowledged that “the law must take its course.”
Per the conditions of his parole, Pistorius is required to undertake anger management courses and gender-based violence programs. June Steenkamp said that those conditions had “affirmed” her and her late husband Barry’s “belief in the South African justice system.”
“Has there been justice for Reeva?” she, however, questioned. “Has Oscar served enough time? There can never be justice if your loved one is never coming back, and no amount of time served will bring Reeva back. We, who remain behind, are the ones serving a life sentence.”
She continued: “My only desire is that I will be allowed to live my last years in peace with my focus remaining on the Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp Foundation, to continue Reeva’s legacy.”
Pistorius, once celebrated as the “Blade Runner” for his achievements in Paralympic sports, made international headlines in the wake of the fatal incident. His trial was also keenly followed worldwide.
But despite his status, South Africa’s department of correctional services said Pistorius wouldn’t be given any preferential treatment during his parole. Besides the aforementioned parole conditions, the 37-year-old is also barred from drinking alcohol or talking to the media. He is also not allowed to leave the home during specific hours of the day.
He is scheduled to complete his parole in 2029.