Johannesburg: South African justice minister Michael Masutha suspended Oscar Pistorius’s planned release from prison this week, ordering a parole review board to decide whether to allow the athlete to serve the rest of his five-year sentence under house arrest.

Pistorius, the first double amputee to compete at an Olympic Games, was due to be paroled on 21 August after spending 10 months in jail for the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day two years ago. A womens’ activist group had petitioned the minister to request a review of the decision.

The decision to release Pistorius was made prematurely when the parole board met on 5 June, because he had not served a sixth of his sentence as required by law, the ministry said in an e-mailed statement Wednesday.

“One sixth of a five years sentence is 10 months and at the time the decision was made Mr Pistorius had served only over six months of his sentence," the ministry said. The decision to release Pistorius “is suspended until the Parole Review Board has decided on the matter."

Anneliese Burgess, a spokesman for Pistorius, couldn’t immediately comment when contacted by phone.

Pistorius, who was convicted of manslaughter, testified that he thought Steenkamp was an intruder in his home.

The family of Steenkamp, who would have turned 32 on Wednesday, were “celebrating her life, what she stood for and the joy she brought into so many lives," according to a statement e-mailed by their attorney, Tania Koen. “We are still struggling with coming to terms with losing our precious daughter." Bloomberg

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