It has been just over three years since the world was dazzled by Oscar Pistorius in the 2012 London Olympic Games. The South African sprinter inspired countless spectators as he defied convention and became the world’s first amputee runner to compete in the Olympic Games, earning the title “Blade Runner” for his use of carbon fiber blades due to him being a double below-the-knee amputee.
It has also been just over one year since Pistorius had been convicted of killing his then girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Next Tuesday, however, he is set to be released on parole. The release will follow a brief period of house arrest, and will continue through 2019.
Last year Pistorius was convicted of what the South African justice system refers to as culpable homicide, an equivalent to manslaughter, for an incident that occurred on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2013. As per the incident, Pistorius was convicted of shooting his girlfriend, who was studying law at the time, through a locked bathroom door. Pistorius claimed he thought Steenkamp was a burglar, and therefore fired on her. Prosecutors pushed for a murder charge, claiming that the shooting was instead a result of an argument. Currently they are appealing the decision, and if they win, the parole could be overturned, sending Pistorius back to prison.
The announcement of parole was met with indifference by Steenkamp’s family, citing that this or any other action that the South African justice system may take will not bring their loved one back. In a statement issues by their attorney, the state of Pistorius’ freedom holds little value to them.
The conditions of Pistorius’ parole, which was previously set for August of 2015 it was delayed by South African Justice Minister Michael Masutha, claiming he did not serve enough of his sentence, subject the former Olympian and Paralympian to continued psychotherapy treatments. He will also be subject to firearm restrictions, as per the Parole Review Board’s decision.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) had banned Pistorius from competing in the 2016 Paralympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This is due to a five year ban that, according to the IPC, is in effect regardless of if he serves his complete five year sentence, which he will not. The IPC does however admit that they are powerless to stop him from appearing in the 2020 Tokyo games.