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South Africa sets date for Pistorius parole review

27 August 2015, 14:35

Johannesburg - The South African review board that will decide on the release of Oscar Pistorius is to meet on September 18, his family said Thursday, after the Paralympian's parole was delayed last week.

Pistorius, who has been in jail for 10 months over the killing of his girlfriend, was expected to be freed last Friday on house arrest.

But in a surprise move, the justice minister blocked his release, saying proper procedure had not been followed.

Pistorius is set to remain in jail as the review panel, which includes three judges, could take weeks or even months to make its decision.

"We do understand that the parole (review) board will be sitting on the 18th of September," said a family spokesman who asked not to be identified.

"That date has been set."

The double-amputee sprinter, 28, was sentenced in October to five years in prison for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013.

He was found guilty of culpable homicide -- a charge equivalent to manslaughter -- after saying during the trial that he shot her through a locked bathroom door because he mistook her for an intruder.

The prosecution has appealed against the verdict and is seeking a murder conviction and a longer sentence, saying Pistorius deliberately killed Steenkamp after an argument.

Justice Minister Michael Masutha had said the decision to allow him to serve out the rest of his sentence under house arrest was "premature".

The Steenkamp family has welcomed the move to keep Pistorius in jail.

Pistorius may be asked to appear in person before the parole board, Pretoria-based advocate Hendrik Theron told AFP.

"They need time to look at the documents," he added. "Like in a court, the judge will often hear a case and then postpone judgement."

It is unclear if the legal appeal by the state to have Pistorius's conviction toughened will be taken into account when his parole is reconsidered.

The state's appeal is due to be heard in November.

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