South African Government Suspends Pistorius’ Parole

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South Africa Justice Minister, Michael Masutha, has suspended the parole granted to Oscar Pistorius, who was due to be released on Friday.

Masutha on Wednesday in Johannesburg referred the decision to release the athlete to the parole review board.
He said the Kgosi Mampuru II prison parole authorities had decided prematurely to release him.

Pistorius was sentenced in October to five years in prison for killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Masutha said the decision was taken when Pistorius was not even eligible to be considered for parole because he had not yet served 10 months.

He said under South African laws, convicts are eligible for parole after serving one-sixth of their sentence.

An official from the Kgosi Mampuru II prison said on condition of anonymity, that Pistorius’ good behaviour in prison was given as the justification to free him after 10 months.

The source said Masutha decision was not unconnected to a petition against Pistorius’ release, he received from the Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa.

Many women’s rights advocates regard the killing of Steenkamp as a case of gender violence, though that was not proved during Pistorius’ trial.

The source said it was not known how long the parole board would need to take a decision.

The 28-year-old, double-amputee Olympic sprinter fatally shot Steenkamp through a toilet door in his Pretoria home on February 14, 2013.

Judge, Thokozile Masipa, rejected arguments by the prosecution that he killed her intentionally and accepted his version that he mistook her for an intruder.

The prosecution has filed an appeal against the verdict at the Supreme Court of Appeal.

If the court overturns Masipa’s manslaughter verdict and finds Pistorius guilty of murder he could face a longer sentence and be sent back to prison.

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