Oscar Pistorius maybe secretly freed despite serving murder sentence to attend grandfather's funeral
Convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius is likely to be released from prison on "compassionate grounds" later this week in order to attend a memorial service for his grandfather. The 31-year-old South African former Olympian is currently serving a 15-year jail sentence for the murder of his 29-year-old model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, whom he shot dead in the bathroom of their Pretoria home.
Hendrik Pistorius, Oscar's grandfather who was the former athlete called Oupa, died last month at the age of 101.
The Daily Mail reported that Oscar was devastated when he found out that his beloved grandfather had died and immediately applied to the Department of Correctional Services to attend the memorial. The former athlete was previously given a leave to attend the memorial service of his maternal grandmother, Gerti, who died at the age of 92 years in August 2016.
He was also allowed a "compassionate leave" in August last year to go for the funeral of his paternal grandmother, Joyce Bekker, who died at the age of 93 years.
Now questions are being asked whether the former national hero is getting preferential treatment from Atteridgeville Prison in Pretoria for being allowed to leave for the third time.
While sources in the family have told local media that they are expecting Oscar to be present for the memorial, prison authorities said the final decision is yet to be made on the issue.
Oscar, a double amputee known as 'The Blade Runner' because of the carbon fiber racing blades he wore on his legs, was convicted of shooting Reeva dead on Valentine's Day, 2013. The former athlete has claimed from the beginning that he thought he was shooting at an intruder, who he thought broke into the house while he was in bed with Reeva. He admitted that he fired four shots through the bathroom door after walking on his stumps from his bed.
Reeva was found with a fatal wound to her head and lying in a pool of her own blood. Oscar was initially found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to six years in prison but that was increased to a total of 15 years after the prosecution appeal saw him being convicted of murder.
Singabakho Nxumalo, a spokesperson for the Department of Correctional Services, told the Weekend Argus: "An application has been made but it has not yet been fully considered. The Head of Centre has to consider a number of factors before an inmate is temporarily placed outside of a correctional facility as that carries risks."
The paper also quotes, however, a source close to the family saying they have been given the go-ahead for Oscar to attend the memorial service at an undisclosed address in Pretoria.
The prison spokesperson denied that Oscar was getting preferential treatment and insisted that the inmates are treated equally. He also said that the compassionate leave was granted based on how an inmate responded to correctional programmes and rehabilitation and on their behavior while incarcerated.
The Weekend Argus also quoted a source in the Department of Correctional Services who said that Oscar was a model prisoner who is allegedly "humble and caring". The source said: "The Oscar I've come to know in jail is kind-hearted and cares for his fellow inmates. He buys food for those who can't afford it or those who are far away from their relatives. And he does this without asking for anything in return. Oscar also doesn't deny what he did and shows remorse every day without faking it or to manipulate people's opinions. This is the side he shows in jail and people should stop judging him."
The source also said that Oscar keeps low in prison does not enjoy any preferential treatment. They added: "He likes his privacy and spends a lot of his time reading and visiting the prison library. He's a real bookworm."