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Convicted killer Oscar Pistorius paroled early

August 21, 2015 - SOUTH AFRICA

Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee athlete known as Blade Runner, is being released on probation from his Pretoria prison after serving 10 months of a five-year sentence for the culpable homicide of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The early release and house arrest will reignite the outcry, particularly from gender rights activists, at the lesser charge. State prosecutors argue that he should have been convicted of murder.

If prosecutors prevail when his case goes before the appeals court in November, he will not be out of prison for long. A murder conviction carries a prison sentence of at least 15 years.

South Africa has one of the highest rates of intimate partner homicide in the world, according to Britain's Guardian newspaper, which interviewed gender rights activists after the parole decision. Rachel Jewkes, director of gender and health research at the South African Medical Research Council, described the court decision and release as a complete travesty, giving out the message that, with the right resources, you can kill a woman with impunity. In 2009 it was estimated that a woman was killed by her husband or boyfriend every eight hours - more commonly than by strangers.

The double amputee shot and killed Steenkamp, a model and law graduate, four times through a locked bathroom door at his Pretoria home on Valentine's Day in 2013. He believed she was an intruder, he told the court during a trial that transfixed the world.

Known as the Blade Runner because of his J-shaped prosthetic legs, Pistorius was the first double-amputee runner to compete in the Olympic Games. He won six Paralympic gold medals.

Oscar Pistorius out on probation in August

The making and unmaking of Oscar Pistorius (BBC 21Oct 2014)

Oscar Pistorius to be released in August as appeal date is set for November (Guardian 8 Jun 2015)

Date written/update: 2015-06-10