South African ex-Paralympic wants to force early release from prison

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Oscar Pistorius left court in 2016

Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend in 2013

Convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius will appear in court to force South African authorities to hold a parole hearing for him.

The former Paralympic gold medalist is serving a 13-year sentence for murdering his girlfriend in 2013.

Pistorius shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp through a locked toilet door, claiming she mistook it for a thief.

He seeks early release due to a dispute about when his sentence began.

A series of appeals and decisions by the Supreme Court (SCA) has led to confusion as to when his sentence came into effect.

Pistorius argues he has already served enough prison terms to be eligible for parole, so authorities should look into whether he can be released early.

In 2017, the SCA said Pistorius should have been sentenced to 13 years and five months for the murder of Ms. Steenkamp – overturning the earlier six-year lighter sentence for the murder.

Last year, the same court ruled that his current mandate should be retracted to October 2014, when he was initially convicted of lesser felony murder.

Pistorius argues that this background means he became eligible for parole in February last year.

He wants Gauteng’s Supreme Court to order the parole board to hold a hearing for him. If this request is granted, he wants the hearing to take place within 30 days of notification of the order.

But the Atteridgeville prison, where he is held, says the appeals court has made conflicting decisions.

The Department of Correctional Services also said it is seeking a court order to determine the date when his sentence actually began.

The murder of Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day nine years ago shocked the country. In a televised case involving millions in South Africa and around the world, Pistorius alleged that he shot his girlfriend four times because she thought a burglar had broken into her Pretoria home.

But a panel of appeals judges found that Arming himself with a high-caliber weapon, Pistorius should have foreseen that the person behind the toilet door could die, especially if firearms training was given.

The rise and fall of Oscar Pistorius

  • August 2012: He competes at the London Olympics and Paralympics, where he won gold medals

  • February 2013: Shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

  • March 2014: trial begins

  • September 2014: Judge finds Pistorius guilty of felony murder

  • October 2014: Sentenced to five years in prison

  • October 2015: Sent to house arrest

  • December 2015: Court of Appeals changed decision to murder

  • July 2016: Sentenced to 6 years in prison for murder

  • November 2017: His sentence was doubled to 13 years and 5 months.

The Oscar Pistorius case: 10 key moments

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