South African athlete Oscar Pistorius walks free following a 9-year sentence


South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has been granted parole, released from the Atteridgeville Correctional Center in Pretoria after serving nearly nine years of his 13-year and five-month sentence for the 2013 killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

The South African Department of Corrections confirmed his release on January 5, 2024, stating that Pistorius is now under the supervision of Community Corrections and is residing at home.

The release, occurring in the early hours, was not publicly disclosed in advance, aligning with authorities’ efforts to shield Pistorius from media attention. The double-amputee Olympic runner will live under strict parole conditions until December 2029.

June Steenkamp, Reeva’s mother, acknowledged Pistorius’ parole within the framework of South African law but expressed that no amount of time served can bring back her daughter. She emphasized the perpetual life sentence for those left behind and voiced her desire to focus on the Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp Foundation.

Pistorius’ parole conditions include restrictions on leaving his residence, an alcohol ban, mandatory participation in anger management and violence against women programs, and community service.

Regular meetings with parole officials and unannounced visits will be part of the monitoring process. Pistorius is prohibited from speaking to the media until the completion of his sentence, and any violation of parole conditions could lead to his return to jail.

Despite his release, the Department of Corrections emphasized that Pistorius, like other parolees, has not completed his sentence. Monitoring will be conducted by officials without the use of tags or bracelets. Pistorius must inform authorities of significant life changes and is subject to continuous supervision.

Throughout the legal proceedings, Pistorius maintained that he mistakenly shot Steenkamp, believing her to be an intruder. Prosecutors contended that the killing was intentional. While Steenkamp’s family did not oppose Pistorius’ parole application, June Steenkamp expressed skepticism about his rehabilitation and truthfulness regarding the incident.