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Oscar Pistorius to be released on parole next Tuesday

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius will be released on parole on October 20, according to South African authorities. The sprinter was jailed last year for killing his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp. He said it was a mistake.

The South African department of correctional services said on Thursday that the parole board had "approved the placement of offender Oscar Pistorius under correctional supervision as from 20 October 2015."

The board "considered all submissions, including the offender's profile report, the directives of the Parole Review Board and the submission of the victim's family."

Pistorius' lawyers said that the sprinter should have been released and granted house arrest in August after serving one-sixth of his five-year jail term for killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

"I do think correctional services have probably considered how unfairly he has been treated. He should have been released on August 21," Brian Webber, Pistorius' lawyer, told the AFP news agency last week.

But the case was referred for review after Justice Minister Michael Masutha made a last-minute intervention. The parole board also said last week it wanted to consult Steenkamp's family over Pistorius' possible release.

A short reprieve for the athlete

The 28-year-old Paralympian was jailed last year after being found guilty of killing his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp. In his defense, Pistorius said he shot her through a locked bathroom door after mistaking her for an intruder.

But Steenkamp's parents say he killed their daughter on purpose and have been against parole for Pistorius. The athlete's family, on the other hand, have accused officials of bowing to "political and media hype" in denying their son parole.

However, the reprieve may prove to be a short one for Pistorius. South African prosecutors have appealed to the Supreme Court for a tougher sentence and a murder conviction for the Paralympian, who was also known as "Blade Runner" for the prosthetic legs he wore on the track. As well as a string of Paralympic medals, he also raced with able-bodied athletes in the 2012 London Olympics 400 meters.

If found guilty of murder, a charge he was cleared of at his first trial, Pistorius could face up to 15 years in prison.

mg/msh (AP, AFP, Reuters)