South African paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius, who killed his girlfriend ten years ago, is currently eligible for parole. On Friday, the hearing commenced.
Pistorius shot the model Reeva Steenkamp four times through the bathroom door of his ultra-secure Pretoria home in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013, shocking the entire globe.
A sizable media contingent accompanied attorneys representing Steenkamp’s family as they arrived at the prison outside of the capital where the hearing was taking place.
June Steenkamp, Steenkamp’s mother, will go before the board to “make submissions” on behalf of her husband Barry as well, who is unable to travel due to illness, according to attorney Tania Koen.
“They don’t feel that he should be released. They feel that he has shown no remorse,” she stated.
“As you can imagine it’s painful. June has to face Oscar Pistorius again this morning. He is the killer of her daughter,” she said.
The Department of Correctional Services states that the board, which must have at least three members and include representatives from the community and prison services, is responsible for determining whether imprisonment has been effective.
After a protracted trial and numerous appeals, Oscar Pistorius also known as the “Blade Runner” because of his carbon fiber prosthetics was found guilty of murder in 2017 and sentenced to 13 years in prison.
He had entered a not-guilty plea and claimed that he had mistaken Steenkamp for a burglar and had not killed her in a fit of rage.
In South Africa, after serving half of their sentence, inmates are automatically eligible for parole consideration.
After he began serving in 2014, Pistorius has completed more than half of his term.
According to his attorney Julian Knight, he won’t make any comments until after the parole decision has been announced.
In an effort to make sure prisoners “acknowledge the devastation they have caused to their victims and the society at large,” Pistorius met with Steenkamp’s parents last year.
Koen called the meeting “extremely upsetting” and “emotional.”
The board will assess Pistorius’ behavior in prison and decide whether he has been rehabilitated or still represents a danger to society, according to the correctional services.
Pistorius competed in the 2012 London Olympics as the first double amputee to race, a year before killing Reeva Steenkamp.
After the murder, everything fell apart for him. He had become a household brand that was admired all around the world and courted by sponsors.
The correctional services department has stated that in Pistorius’ case, the decision about his release from prison may not be made on Friday. Parole decisions are typically announced the same day as the hearing or a day later.
He has the right to request a judicial review if his request is rejected.