SA Justice department could prevent Pistorius prison release

Oscar Pistorius
FILE - In this Monday, March 3, 2014 file photo, Oscar Pistorius stands in court shortly after arriving for his trial at the high court in Pretoria, South Africa. Prosecutors pushing for a murder conviction against Oscar Pistorius filed papers at South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal on Monday, Aug. 17, 2015 four days before the Olympic runner is expected to be released from prison and moved to house arrest. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, file)

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — The head of South Africa’s Department of Justice could “intervene” to prevent Oscar Pistorius’ early release from prison.

The department said in a statement sent to The Associated Press on Wednesday that Justice Minister Michael Masutha is checking to see if the decision by a parole board to approve Pistorius for house arrest was correct.

The justice department says Masutha is “seeking legal opinion (on) whether he is empowered by law to intervene if necessary.” It said the minister would announce a decision before Friday, the day Pistorius was expected to leave jail.

The double-amputee runner has served 10 months of a five-year sentence for manslaughter for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013. He was approved by a parole board to serve the remainder under house arrest.

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