SOMERSET WEST, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius’ family criticized South African authorities on Tuesday for delays in deciding whether he should be released from jail and moved to house arrest, saying his rights were being “undermined” because of the publicity surrounding his case.
The family also reacted to parole officials’ recommendation that the double-amputee runner undergo psychotherapy, saying he was already receiving “regular and ongoing” psychotherapy from both his personal and prison psychologists.
The Pistorius family spoke out in a written statement after his early release — which had been granted in June — was canceled Monday and ordered to be reconsidered.
“This experience leaves us with the uncomfortable conclusion that the public, political and media hype that was allowed to develop around Oscar’s trial has undermined his right to be treated like any other prisoner,” Pistorius’ family said.
The family expressed concerns over the “legality” of canceling Pistorius’ release.
Pistorius was approved to be released on Aug. 21 after serving 10 months of his five-year manslaughter sentence for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. In a fairly common procedure in South Africa for offenders sentenced to five years or less, he would have been moved from jail after one-sixth of the sentence to serve the remainder under correctional supervision at home.
But the justice minister intervened two days before Pistorius was to leave jail and ordered a review on a legal technicality, saying the parole board met two months too early. After a seven-week delay, officials reviewing Pistorius’ case on Monday sent it back to that original parole board to consider all over again.
“We cannot understand … why the matter is now to be referred back to the parole board that has no reason to make a different decision from the one that was made in the first place,” the Pistorius family said.
GERALD IMRAY, Associated Press
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