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South African athlete to spend remainder of sentence on house arrest

South African Olympic and Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius has been released on house arrest nearly one year after he was jailed for killing his girlfriend, prison officials say.

South African Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius attends his sentencing at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria October 21, 2014. REUTERS/Herman Verwey/Pool

Oscar Pistorius is expected to spend the remainder of a five-year prison sentence at his uncle’s home in Pretoria.

Pistorius, 28, shot Reeva Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door but said he thought she was an intruder.

He was found guilty of culpable homicide, or manslaughter, in October last year.

A case lodged by the prosecution appealing that decision is due to be heard by the Supreme Court of Appeal on 3 November. State prosecutors say Pistorius should have instead been convicted of murder.

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The athlete was released on Monday evening, a day earlier than expected, a spokesman from the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre said.

His parole conditions include gun ownership restrictions and continued psychotherapy sessions. The disabled sportsman is also expected to do a period of community service, according to the BBC’s Karen Allen in Pretoria.

Reeva Steenkamp’s cousin, Kim Martin, told BBC the family might consider visiting Pistorius when the time is “right”. But she also said she felt he was “getting off lightly”.

Her parents have previously said that the time served by Pistorius was “not enough for taking a life”.

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Under South African law, the double amputee was eligible for release under “correctional supervision” having served a sixth of his sentence.

Meanwhile, a close family friend of the athlete said he was in poor physical shape, adding that his return to athletics would be unlikely.

If the prosecution is successful with its appeal next month, Pistorius could face a lengthy sentence back in prison.

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