Pistorius to be released on parole on Aug 21

Mon Jun 8, 2015 10:36am EDT
 
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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African athlete Oscar Pistorius will be released on parole on Aug. 21 after serving 10 months of a five-year sentence for culpable homicide of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, authorities said.

The Olympic and Paralympic track star is behind bars in the capital, Pretoria, after being convicted in October after a seven-month trial.

The release of Pistorius, whose lower legs were amputated when he was a baby, had been largely expected under South African sentencing guidelines that say non-dangerous prisoners should spend only one-sixth of a custodial sentence behind bars.

A prison service statement said Pistorius would spend the remainder of his time under "correctional supervision", a form of house arrest.

Steenkamp, a 29-year-old law graduate and model, died on Valentine's Day in 2013 when Pistorius shot her through a locked toilet door at his luxury Pretoria home.

Prosecutors had pushed for a murder conviction, but the athlete maintained he fired in the mistaken belief an intruder was hiding behind the door, a defense that struck home with many in a country with one of the world's highest rates of violent crime.

The state won its bid to appeal the culpable homicide conviction and will seek a murder conviction when the case is heard in November.

Pistorius could face a prison sentence of at least 15 years if convicted of murder.

(Reporting by Peroshni Govender and Ed Cropley; Editing by James Macharia and Andrew Roche)

 
South African Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius is led to a prison van after his sentencing in Pretoria October 21, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings