Oscar Pistorius set to meet victim Reeva Steenkamp's parents

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Oscar Pistorius set to meet victim Reeva Steenkamp's parents
South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius sit on the chair at the North Gauteng High Court to attend summary judgement on his trial on July 6, 2016Image source, AFP
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Oscar Pistorius' trial and subsequent hearings attracted huge media interest

The jailed ex-Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius is due to meet the parents of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who he was convicted of murdering in 2013.

The meeting is part of a process that could lead to the 35-year-old's eventual release on parole.

The South African has been moved to a different prison nearer to where Mr and Mrs Steenkamp live, officials said.

Pistorius is up for possible release after having served half his 13 years and five month sentence.

But he first must participate in what is called "restorative justice".

As part of this, offenders are expected to speak to their victims or their relatives. They must also acknowledge the harm they have caused, the department of correctional services said.

Pistorius shot Ms Steenkamp dead in 2013 saying he mistook her for a burglar at his home in the capital, Pretoria.

He fired four times through a locked toilet door.

In 2014, at the conclusion of a trial that was followed around the world, he was given a five-year term for manslaughter. But Pistorius was found guilty of murder on appeal in 2015 and the sentence was later increased to 13 years and five months.

When the possibility of Pistorius' release first came up earlier this month, the Steenkamps' lawyer, Tania Koen, told national broadcaster SABC that they "would like to participate in the victim-offender dialogue".

"June [Steenkamp, Reeva's mother] has always said that she has forgiven Oscar, however that doesn't mean that he mustn't pay for what he has done... Barry [Steenkamp, Reeva's father] battles with that a bit, but that is something he will have to voice at the appropriate time," Ms Koen added.

"The wound, even though so much time has passed, is still very raw."

The authorities have not said when the meeting will take place, simply saying "the timeframe... will be guided by the level of preparedness by all participants".

Reeva Steenkamp. File photoImage source,
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Oscar Pistorius shot Reeva Steenkamp dead on 14 February 2013

The department of correctional services asked people not to put pressure on those taking part to reveal what was said.

Prior to the murder, Pistorius was well known as a Paralympic gold medallist. In 2012, he made history by becoming the first amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympics running on prosthetic "blades".

His legs were amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old because he was born without fibula bones.

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