Johannesburg — Former Olympic runner and Paralympic gold medalist Oscar Pistorius is up for parole. South Africa’s parole board was meeting Friday to decide if Pistorius would be released from prison more than 10 years after he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The board will consider his conduct and disciplinary record in prison, his participation in educational or other training courses during the last decade of incarceration, and his mental and physical state to assess whether Pistorius, now 36, would still pose a threat to public safety.
As Steenkamp’s mother June arrived Friday at the parole hearing, she was asked if she believed Pistorius was remorseful.
“No. Never,” she said. “It’s very hard to be in the same room as him.”
Steenkamp’s parents were to address the parole board to voice their opposition to Pistorius being granted early parole.
“We don’t believe his story,” June Steenkamp told reporters as her car pulled into the Atteridgeville Correctional Centre in Pretoria on Friday.
The 2014murder trial kept viewers around the world glued to the live courtroom broadcast as prosecutors argued that the elite athlete had deliberately shot his girlfriend through a locked bathroom door in the middle of the night.
Pistorius maintained throughout that it was a terrible accident and that he had mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder. He was ultimately convicted of murder after prosecutors successfully appealed an initial conviction for culpable homicide, which is comparable to manslaughter. He was sentenced to 13 years and five months in prison in 2017, which took into account just over a year he had already served during the appeal process.
Social workers have already inspected his uncle Arno Pistorius’ property in Pretoria, which is where he would serve out the remainder of his sentence if parole is granted.
The terms of parole vary in South Africa but could include an electronic tag to monitor his movements and a ban on making money from media interviews about his incarceration.
Pistorius was last up for parole in 2021, but his request was denied on technical grounds as he had not met with Steenkamp’s family as required under South Africa’s parole rules. That meeting has since taken place, but Steenkamp’s parents remain unconvinced that Pistorius has taken responsibility for his actions.
Steenkamp’s mother had indicated before Friday that, along with her husband, she would oppose Pistorius’ early release, arguing that unless he admits he deliberately killed their daughter, he can’t be deemed to have shown remorse.
The year before the murder, Pistorius was a star at the London Olympics, achieving global recognition for becoming the first double amputee to compete against able-bodied sprinters. His prowess on twin carbon-fiber prosthetics earned him the nickname “Blade Runner.”