Disgraced South African Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius was denied parole on Friday, according to local authorities who said he has yet to complete his minimum sentence.
According to South African law, inmates can be considered for parole after serving half of their sentence if they meet conditions, like good behavior in prison.
The former Olympic sprinter shot his partner Reeva Steenkamp four times through the bathroom door of his house in 2013, denying that he killed her in a fit of anger and saying instead he had mistaken her for an intruder. He was originally sentenced to 13 years and five months imprisonment.
A spokesperson for South Africa’s Correctional Services, Singabakho Nxumalo, told CNN that Pistorius’ submission for parole was not granted because he was not yet eligible – an issue clarified by the country’s top appeals court earlier this week.
“The parole board has granted Mr. Pistorius a further profile for August 2024 and the reason behind that is that Mr. Pistorius is yet to serve a minimum detention period as per the clarification order provided by the Supreme Court of Appeal, which was only provided to the department on the 28th of March 2023,” Nxumalo said.
Pistorius must now continue to serve his sentence until a new parole hearing in August 2024.
The parole board’s decision was quickly hailed by Steenkamp’s parents, who had opposed an early release, according to their lawyer.
“While we welcome today’s decision, today is not a cause for celebration. We miss Reeva terribly and will do so for the rest of our lives. We believe in justice and hope that it continues to prevail,” their lawyer Tania Koen told CNN.
In 2018, the athlete’s father Henke Pistorius told the UK’s Times newspaper that he ran bible classes and prayer groups for prisoners, including the jail’s most feared gang leader.
To be eligible for parole, Pistorius had to participate in South Africa’s “Restorative Justice” process, which gives offenders the opportunity to “acknowledge and take responsibility for their actions.”
The athlete – once feted as an inspirational figure after competing in the 2012 Olympics – became the center of a trial that was followed around the world.
During the trial, Pistorius pleaded not guilty to one charge of murder and a firearms charge associated with Steenkamp’s killing.
Prosecutors argued her killing was deliberate and that the shooting happened after the couple had an argument.
He frequently broke down in court and his past behavior was closely scrutinized.
Pistorius was convicted of manslaughter in 2014 and sentenced to five years. But a higher court overturned the conviction and changed it to murder a year later, increasing his sentence to six years in prison.
The ruling was appealed by prosecutors who claimed the sentence was too lenient. Pistorius’ sentence was increased to 13 years and five months by South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal in 2017.
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