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Who is Oscar Pistorius and Why is He Being Released From Jail?

Who is Oscar Pistorius?

Oscar Pistorius is a former professional sprinter and a convicted murderer. He was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1986 with fibular hemimelia, a congenital absence of the fibula bone in both legs. As a result, at the age of 11 months both his legs were amputated below the knee.

Pistorius rose to fame as a professional sprinter running on prosthetic blades, earning him the nickname Blade Runner.

He took part in the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens and came third in the 100m, going on to win the 200m in a world record of 21.97 seconds. At London 2012 Pistorius became the first amputee runner to compete at an Olympic Games.

But his sporting prowess was to be overshadowed when in February 2013 he shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, at his home in Pretoria, South Africa.

Who is Reeva Steenkamp?

Reeva Steenkamp was model and paralegal. She was born in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1983. After school she studied law at the University of Port Elizabeth, which became a part of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, where she graduated with a law degree in 2005.

After working as a paralegal, she had a successful modelling career, appearing in several magazines and as the face of companies such as Avon cosmetics and Sivana Diamonds.

She started dating Pistorius in 2012.

What happened to Steenkamp?

Pistorius shot her in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013 when he fired four times through the locked door of his bedroom toilet, later saying he thought she was an intruder.

In a television interview, he said he believed an intruder was in the house and “instant fear” drove him to grab his gun and walk on his stumps towards the bathroom before opening fire.

What happened in court after Steenkamp’s death?

Pistorius was initially acquitted of murder and was originally convicted of culpable homicide – the equivalent of manslaughter – in 2014, and he started a five-year jail sentence.

In October 2014, he was released to house arrest to serve the rest of his sentence at his uncle’s home in a wealthy suburb of Pretoria.

But in December of the same year, the supreme court of appeal overturned the lower judge’s ruling and found Pistorius guilty of murder, arguing he should have foreseen the possibility of killing someone when he fired the shots.

In 2016, he was sent back to jail for six years, less than half the 15-year minimum term sought by prosecutors.

But in 2017, the supreme court more than doubled Pistorius’ murder sentence to 13 years and five months, accepting state prosecutors’ argument that the original jail term was “shockingly lenient”.

What has happened today?

The department for correctional services confirmed that Pistorius will be granted parole and will be released from prison in January.

He was denied parole in March after it was ruled that he had not completed the minimum detention period required to be considered for parole.

However, the constitutional court said in October that Pistorius had served half of his sentence by 21 March this year, which meant he was eligible for parole, after his sentence was backdated to July 2016 instead of November 2017.

Source: The Guardian