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Paralympian Oscar Pistorius leaves jail under house arrest

Published 19/10/2015

Oscar Pistorius has been released from prison in Pretoria
Oscar Pistorius has been released from prison in Pretoria

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius, jailed for shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, has been released from prison and put under house arrest.

Manelisi Wolela, a spokesman for South Africa's correctional services department, said the double-amputee runner who shot Ms Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013 was under "correctional supervision".

Pistorius, 28, was released from Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre in the South African capital Pretoria, where he served nearly a year of his five-year sentence for manslaughter.

A parole board at the prison made the decision for the runner to be put under house arrest.

It came after an initial ruling to release the athlete from prison in August was cancelled at the last minute after intervention by the justice minister.

"Oscar Pistorius was placed under correctional supervision tonight," Mr Wolela said.

The correctional services department had originally said Pistorius would be released from the Pretoria jail on Tuesday in line with a decision by a parole board at the prison.

"The handling of the actual placement is an operational matter of the local management, and how they handle it is their prerogative that is carried out in the best interest of all parties concerned, the victims, the offender and the Department of Correction Services," Mr Wolela said.

Under South African law, an offender sentenced to five years or less in jail can be released after serving one-sixth of the term - in Pistorius' case 10 months.

Pistorius was acquitted of murder last year but prosecutors have appealed against the trial verdict of culpable homicide, or manslaughter, and will seek a murder conviction again at South Africa's Supreme Court on November 3.

If Pistorius is convicted of murder by a panel of five judges at the appeal, he faces going back to prison for 15 years, the minimum sentence for murder in South Africa, which no longer has the death penalty.

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