Oscar Pistorius to stay in prison for foreseeable future after Justice Minister rejects early release

He was due to be released on Friday

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The Independent Online

Oscar Pistorius will not be released from prison on Friday, the South African Justice Department has confirmed.

The Paralympian athlete was expected to be released from prison in Pretoria to carry out the rest of his sentence under house arrest at his uncle’s home. However, the Justice Minister said releasing him after he had served just ten months of his five-year sentence was "premature".

The 28-year-old's family said they were "shocked and disappointed" by the decision on Wednesday.

Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide for shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp four times through a locked bathroom door on Valentine's Day in 2013. He claimed he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder and acted in self-defence, while prosecutors claim he shot with intent to kill.

Steenkamp's family released an image of the model and law graduate on what would have been her 32nd birthday.

The Justice Minister has referred the decision to release Pistorius to a review panel, according to a report by eNCA. His release date has now been suspended until his case is reviewed by the parole board.

If Pistorius is released on house arrest, the Department of Correctional Services will consider whether he can continue his training, although he will not be allowed to compete nationally or internationally until his sentence is complete.

His release would have fallen just two days after Steenkamp's birthday and during South Africa's 'Women's Month' campaign to highlight awareness of violence against women.

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Pistorius could still face murder charges after prosecutors launched an appeal against his verdict, which is being considered by the Supreme Court in September. If found guilty of murder, he would almost certainly end up back behind bars.

Additional reporting by agencies

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