Pis­to­rius’s bid to at­tend grand­fa­ther’s me­mo­rial

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MIKE BEHR

CON­VICTED mur­derer Os­car Pis­to­rius has ap­plied to be re­leased tem­po­rar­ily from his Pre­to­ria in­car­cer­a­tion next week to at­tend his grand­fa­ther’s me­mo­rial ser­vice, lead­ing to ques­tions about pref­er­en­tial treat­ment for him.

That fol­lowed con­fir­ma­tion three weeks ago by a Pis­to­rius fam­ily mem­ber that Os­car was strug­gling with news that his 101-year-old grand­fa­ther, Hen­drik Pis­to­rius, died from ill health on Oc­to­ber 19.

Pis­to­rius’ at­ten­dance was seem­ingly con­firmed by a fam­ily mem­ber who supplied the venue and the date on con­di­tion that it be kept pri­vate.

How­ever, asked for con­fir­ma­tion, De­part­ment of Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices spokesper­son Singabakho Nx­u­malo said: “An ap­pli­ca­tion has been made by an in­mate but not yet con­sid­ered by the Head of Cen­tre. He has to con­sider a num­ber of fac­tors be­fore an in­mate is tem­po­rar­ily placed out of a cor­rec­tional fa­cil­ity as that car­ries risks.”

How­ever, an­other source close to Pis­to­rius , also speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity, said the for­mer Par­a­lympic champ would be at­tend­ing the me­mo­rial ser­vice at an ex­clu­sive Pre­to­ria venue.

Pis­to­rius is serv­ing a 13-year sen­tence at the At­teridgeville Cor­rec­tional Cen­tre for the 2013 Valen­tine’s Day mur­der of his girl­friend Reeva Steenkamp.

He is likely to be­come el­i­gi­ble for pa­role around 2023.

Amid ac­cu­sa­tions that the re­lease in­di­cates Pis­to­rius’s pref­er­en­tial treat­ment, Nx­u­malo said: “In cor­rec­tional ser­vices, all in­mates are the same and must the treated equally. In­mates are en­cour­aged to be­have ac­cord­ingly and must re­spond pos­i­tively to cor­rec­tional pro­grammes and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

“Th­ese are just some of the fac­tors which are con­sid­ered when an in­mate is to be tem­po­rar­ily placed out for a par­tic­u­lar func­tion.”

This was con­firmed by a cor­rec­tional ser­vices source who added that the me­dia’s im­age of Os­car does not tally with the in­mate who has proved to be “hum­ble and car­ing”.

“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.”

Pis­to­rius al­legedly keeps a low pro­file in prison where he did not en­joy any pref­er­en­tial treat­ment, said the source.

“He likes his pri­vacy and spends a lot of his time read­ing and vis­it­ing the prison li­brary. He’s a real book­worm,” the source said.

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