Former Paralympic and Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius has been released from prison on parole having served half of his more than 13-year sentence for murder of his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day 2013.
Pistorius shot the 29-year-old Reeva Steenkamp dead through a locked bathroom door claiming he mistook her for an intruder.
He will be subject to correctional supervision until his sentence ends in 2029. Pistorius is expected to live at his uncle’s home in Waterkloof, Pretoria, and to attend programmes on gender-based violence and anger management.
He will not be allowed to drink alcohol and will have to get permission to travel or take up employment. The exact terms of his parole have not been made public.
In a statement shared by the Steenkamp family lawyer on Friday, Reeva’s mother June said: “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,” June Steenkamp said, adding her only desire was to be allowed to live in peace.
Pistorius was initially acquitted of murder and convicted of culpable homicide – the equivalent of manslaughter – in 2014 and started a five-year jail sentence.
In October 2014, he was released to house arrest to serve the rest of his sentence at his uncle’s home but in December of the same year, the supreme court of appeal overturned the lower judge’s ruling and found Pistorius guilty of murder, arguing he should have foreseen the possibility of killing someone when he fired the shots.
In 2016 Pistorius was sentenced to six years in prison, less than half the 15-year minimum term sought by prosecutors. The following year, the supreme court ruled that sentence was “shockingly lenient” and raised it to 15 years, minus time already served.
The decision to grant him parole was made last November.
The Department of Correctional Services said that Pistorius would not be permitted to speak to media. “I think he’ll keep an incredibly low profile. I’ll be surprised if he tries to rehabilitate his public persona.”
June Steenkamp said the conditions imposed by the parole board had affirmed her belief in the South African justice system as they send out a clear message that gender-based violence is taken seriously.