S.Africa's Pistorius release might take time even if parole granted: lawyers

South Africa Oscar Pistorius pictured after he was sentenced in 2016 for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.  By MARCO LONGARI (POOL/AFP)
Oscar Pistorius pictured after he was sentenced in 2016 for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. By MARCO LONGARI (POOL/AFP)

Former South African Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius, who was convicted of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp a decade ago, is unlikely to be released immediately if he is granted parole on Friday, the victim's family lawyer said.

The country's parole board on Monday said it would be "considering the profile of Oscar Pistorius on Friday, 24 November 2023".

But even if Pistorius's application was to be successful the ex-athlete might have to wait for weeks before being let out of prison pending an "internal process" by the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), according to the Steenkamp family lawyer, Tania Koen.

If "parole is granted, DCS follows an internal process, which is usually within a month", Koen told AFP.

Several legal experts questioned by AFP said the time between a decision to grant parole is taken and a prisoner is released varies from case to case -- with some hinting that the wait could depend on "political expediency".

The double amputee, who started serving his sentence in 2014, lost his first bid for parole in March.

DCS said he had not completed the minimum detention period required to be let out.

Prisoners in South Africa are automatically eligible for parole consideration after serving half of their sentence.

Pistorius, who turns 37 on Wednesday, had been thought to have served more than half, having started his term in 2014.

But after having pursued several appeals of his initial conviction, authorities determined their count from his last conviction, which fell short of half.

The Constitutional Court contradicted this process last month ruling that the count must start from the date of the first instance an inmate was put behind bars.

Pistorius killed Reeva Steenkamp, a model, in the early hours of Valentine's Day 2013, firing four times through the bathroom door of his ultra-secure Pretoria house, in a killing that shocked the world.

Arrested in the early hours back in February 2013, he had pleaded not guilty and denied killing Steenkamp in a rage, saying he mistook her for a burglar.

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