Oscar Pistorius to be freed on Friday

Oscar Pistorius leaves North Gauteng high court on Wednesday. Photograph: Charlie Shoemaker/Getty Images
FILE PIC-Oscar Pistorius Photograph: Charlie Shoemaker/Getty Images

Oscar Pistorius is set to be released from prison this week, just two days after the birthday of Reeva Steenkamp, the woman he killed. After serving 10 months of his five-year sentence for culpable homicide, the South African equivalent of manslaughter, the former athlete will be moved into house arrest at the luxurious home of his uncle Arnold on Friday.

There has been a mix of surprise and anger in South Africa that Pistorius is to be set free so soon, particularly as his release comes during the country’s “Women’s Month” campaign that seeks to highlight with the issue of violence against women.

And in a statement, Steenkamp’s parents said that the 29-year-old was reaching the end of his prison term at a time when they were feeling the loss of their daughter especially keenly.

“We are still struggling with coming to terms with losing our precious daughter Reeva and her loss is felt even more this week as we would have celebrated her 32nd birthday on August 19,” they said in a statement to The Times newspaper.

Pistorius was recommended for release into the community at the earliest possible opportunity by the parole board at the maximum security Kgosi Mampuru II Prison in Pretoria after “behaving himself very well”.

At the time, June and Barry Steenkamp condemned the decision to let Pistorius serve only one sixth of his prison sentence, in a strongly-worded letter which the parole board said was taken into account.

“We do not seek to avenge her death and we do not want Mr Pistorius to suffer; that will not bring (Reeva) back to us,” they wrote.

“However, a person found guilty of a crime must be held accountable for their actions.

“Statistics show that our society is under continuous attack from criminals and murderers. Incarceration of 10 months for taking a life is simply not enough. We fear that this will not send out the proper message and serve as the deterrent it should.” – The Independent.