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Oscar Pistorius Release From Prison This Friday Suspended By South African Government

( [email protected] ) Aug 19, 2015 01:53 PM EDT
In South Africa, the Oscar Pistorius case was a lot like the O.J. Simpson case was in America twenty years ago.  Pistorius, an Olympian athlete, was going to be released on parole this Friday, but a decision by the ministry of Juice and Correctional Services stepped in and suspended it.  Part of it comes from a petition from the Progressive Women's Movement of South Africa.
Denied parole. Reuters

In South Africa, the Oscar Pistorius case was a lot like the O.J. Simpson case was in America twenty years ago.  Pistorius, an Olympian athlete, was going to be released on parole this Friday, but a decision by the ministry of Juice and Correctional Services stepped in and suspended it.  Part of it comes from a petition from the Progressive Women's Movement of South Africa. 

According to The Globe and Mail, Oscar Pistorius was scheduled to be freed from prison, but South Africa's government has stepped in order to suspend the release.  Pistorius was supposed to be released to serve house arrest after 10 months after his five-year sentence for culpable homicide began.  This "correctional supervision" would have allowed the former Olympic athlete and double amputee the ability to live at his luxury villa of his wealthy uncle in Pretoria.  Many have criticized the athlete's "house arrest" to that of "mansion arrest". 

South Africa's justice ministry has suspended the release that was scheduled for this Friday, according to BBC.  The ministry of Justice and Correctional Services believes that the decision to release Pistorius was "without legal basis" and "made prematurely".  It has been sent back to the parole board for review, which means that Oscar Pistorius remains in prison.

South African law states those criminals with sentences of five years or less can be released on parole after serving one-sixth of their sentence.  Pistorius has served that amount of time in prison, but the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services said on Wednesday that the parole decision had been made in June, during the time with Pistorius was ineligible for release.  A decision on parole cannot be made until the full 10 months of the imprisonment are complete. 

This may also be an issue of time, as the month of August is officially "women's month" in South Africa. A group known as the Progressive Women's Movement of South Africa sent a petition to the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services, saying that they were shocked at the "insensitivity" to release Pistorius during women's month, and also added that the early release was insulting to the many victims of violence against women. 

For those not familiar with the Oscar Pistorius case, he was convicted of culpable homicide for his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.  He fired four gunshots through his bathroom door in the early hours of Valentine's Day 2013.  Pistorius revealed at his very high profile trial that believe that Steenkamp was an intruder in his home. 

He was acquitted of murder, but prosecutors filed written arguments for their appeal against this ruling.  These prosecutors believe that Pistorius must have known that he was likely to kill whoever it was, and he could have fired a warning short or at the floor, instead of in the middle of the door where it would most likely kill the person in the bathroom.  Should the prosecution appeal be successful, Pistorius would face a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison for murder.