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Pistorius to remain behind bars as judges deny parole

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Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius is to remain in jail after judges overturned a decision to release him after ten months of a five-year sentence for killing his girlfriend.

The former Olympic and Paralympic sprinter appeared set for early release in June when the parole board announced that he could be released and placed under “correctional supervision” — in effect, house arrest at his wealthy uncle’s mansion in Pretoria.

He was convicted of manslaughter after shooting Reeva Steenkamp four times through a locked bathroom door.

The parole board’s decision to release him had been challenged on a technicality by the justice minister. Michael Masutha argued that the parole board should have considered Pistorius for release only after the ten months were up rather than making the decision in advance.

Mr Masutha sent the case to the parole review board and after considering it, the three judges have now sent it back to the parole board.

This body has no set time in which to consider the sprinter’s case, so there is no immediate prospect of him being freed.

Pistorius, 28, is expected to remain behind bars at least until the prosecution’s appeal against the verdict early next month. South Africa’s national prosecution authority, led by Gerrie Nel, wants his conviction upgraded to murder, a crime that carries a minimum sentence of 15 years.

Mr Nel has described the Paralympic gold medallist’s sentence as shockingly inappropriate.

Pistorius has been in the hospital wing of Kgosi Mampuru II prison since September last year, after a prolonged and highly scrutinised trial in which prosecutors argued that he had known that Ms Steenkamp was behind his bathroom door and intended to shoot her. Pistorius said that he thought she was an intruder and that he was acting in self-defence.

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