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Reeva Steenkamp's Family "Shocked" At Pistorius Release Recommendation

On Monday, South African prison officials said the double amputee Olympic athlete — who was sentenced to five years in jail for shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp — should be moved to house arrest after serving one-sixth of his sentence.

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The family of late model Reeva Steenkamp, who was shot dead by her athlete boyfriend Oscar Pistorius on Feb. 14, 2013, have said they are "shocked" at the recommendation to release him from prison just a sixth of the way into his five-year sentence.

Phil Magakoe / AP

Reeva Steenkamp's father, Barry, stares at Oscar Pistorius in the dock during the verdict in the athlete's trial in Pretoria, South Africa, Sept. 14.

Officials on the parole board in Pretoria last week overruled a submission by Steenkamp's parents, Barry and June, when they sat to decide whether or not the Olympian and Paralympian double amputee runner would be eligible to serve his culpable homicide sentence under house arrest, The Guardian reported.

The Steenkamps' submission said they had "forgiven" Pistorius and "did not want him to suffer," but also that "a person found guilty of a crime must be held accountable for their actions."

After the decision was announced, the Steenkamps declined to comment further, but their lawyer, Tanya Koen, said, "They are shocked by the fact that Oscar Pistorius will be receiving parole and going out on 21 August. They don't think 10 months is enough for taking a life.

"Whether it was Reeva behind the door or anybody else behind that door, it doesn't send out a proper message and it doesn't serve as a deterrent."

Acting National Commissioner of Correctional Services Zach Modise said Monday a prison committee had made the recommendation based on Pistorius' good behavior in jail in Pretoria and that a parole board's decision was pending, AP reported.

PIstorius would have to continue serving his sentence at home and under strict conditions.

Manelisi Wolela, a correctional services spokesperson, said any conditions of house arrest for Pistorius would not be made public.

However, South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal is due to make a decision in the appeal against the double amputee athlete's acquittal of murder in November.

If that court decides that the judge in Pistorius' trial, Thokozile Masipa, was wrong to acquit him of murder, he could be sent back to prison to serve a 15-year sentence.

Francis Whittaker is a homepage editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Francis Whittaker at

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