South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has pardoned convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius.
Ramaphosa, who took over the presidency following Jacob Zuma’s resignation, says the amnesty granted to the Olympian takes effect on April 15, 2018.
“Pistorius has regretted, very remorseful and apologised. It wasn’t intentional,” a local radio quoted President Ramaphosa.
The president’s announcement comes a day after South Africa’s highest court dismissed Pistorius’ request to review the sentence on Monday, bringing a close to a five-year legal saga surrounding the man who was once one of the world’s most celebrated athletes.
Legal experts ruled out a possibility that Pistorius could get his way out, therefore the presidential pardon comes as a shock to many.
Last year, the Supreme Court of Appeal more than doubled Pistorius’ six-year sentence for the murder of Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, whom he shot four times through a locked bathroom door in his home on Valentine’s Day in 2013.
The minimum sentence for murder in South Africa is 15 years, and the court called the initial six-year sentence “shockingly lenient”.
The double-amputee runner, 31, claims he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder.
Pistorius originally was convicted of manslaughter, but that was overturned and replaced with a murder conviction by the Supreme Court.
He had also tried and failed to appeal his murder conviction in the Constitutional Court.
Pistorius was supposed to serve at least half of his 13-year sentence before he could be considered for parole, therefore his immediate release is being questioned by many.