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Oscar Pistorius being considered for parole

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Shiraaz Mohamed/Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

South Africa

Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius is being considered for parole, after serving half of his prison sentence for killing his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

However, this will happen after a meeting with the deceased’s parents, the Steenkamps

Pistorius, a world-famous double-amputee athlete who competed at the 2012 Olympics, has been eligible for parole since July after he was convicted of murder for shooting multiple times through a toilet door in his home on Valentine's Day 2013.

Pistorius was convicted of murder in 2015 and ultimately sentenced to 13 years and five months in prison. He became eligible for parole under South African law after serving half his sentence.

On Monday, Legal representatives for both parties told journalists that a parole hearing for Pistorius was scheduled for last month but was canceled, partly because a meeting between Pistorius and Steenkamp's parents, Barry and June, had not been arranged

Corrections department officials scheduled the parole hearing for October but it was called off when a full report on Pistorius' time in prison wasn't available, said Julian Knight, a lawyer for Pistorius. The date for a new hearing has not yet been set, Knight said.

Both parents of the deceased, Barry and June Steenkamp are asking for a face-to-face meeting with Pistorius before he is considered for early release from prison, as is their right under South Africa's victim-offender dialogue policy.

Through victim offender meetings, parents of the victim, have previously said they want to challenge Pistorius on why he shot their daughter. ``They (Barry and June) feel that Reeva has got a voice. They are Reeva's voice, and they owe it to their beloved daughter,'' said Tania Koen, the Steenkamps' lawyer.

The Steenkamps will also be allowed to make recommendations to the parole board, but it is not yet know if they will oppose Pistorius release.

The 34-year-old Pistorius could be taken from where he is incarcerated at the Atteridgeville Correctional Center in the capital, Pretoria, to the Steenkamps' home city of Gqerberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) for the victim-offender meeting because, according to Koen, Barry Steenkamp is unable to travel due to his health.

Lawyer for Pistorius, Knight is hopeful that the meeting between Pistorius and the Steenkamps, could take place by the end of the year.

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