Early Release for Pistorius Blocked

South Africa justice minister says decision to let him out was 'premature'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2015 7:14 AM CDT
Early Release for Pistorius Blocked
In this Oct. 17, 2014, file photo, Oscar Pistorius is escorted by police officers as he leaves the high court in Pretoria, South Africa.   (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File)

Looks like Oscar Pistorius may have a slight delay before he gets to chillax in mansion prison. The Paralympian's early release tomorrow has been blocked by Michael Masutha, South Africa's justice minister, who says that while the country's law dictates releasing inmates after they've served one-sixth of their sentence—in Pistorius' case, 10 months into his five-year sentence, which would be tomorrow—he thinks the release isn't legal because the decision to release the athlete was made only six months into his prison stay, the BBC reports. His decision yesterday came on what would have been Reeva Steenkamp's 32nd birthday, notes NBC News. "As the story unwinds I want people to remember that somebody actually died," her mom, June Steenkamp, says. "That she died, she lost her life."

Per the New York Times, Masutha said during a Talk Radio 702 interview that perhaps parole officials "misinterpreted the law and been in haste in taking a decision prematurely." One reason Masutha may have waited until the 11th hour to bring this up, the Times notes: pressure during South Africa's Women's Month from women's rights groups. Legal sources tell the BBC this could delay Pistorius' release for months. Meanwhile, one of his family members tells Reuters, "We are shocked and disappointed that Oscar won't be home this Friday." (More Oscar Pistorius stories.)

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