UPDATE: 4:38 a.m. EDT -- Oscar Pistorius’ family released a statement on the early release of the athlete from a South African prison for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, and said that its members are “happy that Oscar is home,” the Telegraph reported.
A spokeswoman for the Pistorius family added in the statement that the paralympic gold medalist will serve out the remainder of his sentence at home.
"It is very important for the family to emphasise that Oscar's sentence has not been shortened or reduced. He is simply entering the next phase of his sentence now. He will serve this under the strict conditions that govern correctional supervision," the statement reportedly said.
Pistorius is currently at the home of his uncle, Arnold Pistorius.
South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius was released from prison late Monday to serve the remainder of his sentence under house arrest. Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide and sentenced to five years in prison for fatally shooting his former girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013. He has served less than a year in jail.
While his family members claimed they were expecting Pistorius to be released Tuesday, his lawyer, Brian Webber, announced Monday night that the "Blade Runner" was already at his uncle, Arnold Pistorius’ house in Pretoria, South Africa, under correctional supervision, NBC reported.
Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide after his defense team claimed that he shot Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013 after mistaking her for an intruder. He went to prison on Oct. 21, 2014, NBC News reported, and is expected to be under the correctional supervision until 2019.
“It will be very good. He should have been released on August 21,” Webber said, according to the Guardian.
Manelisi Wolela, a spokesperson for the department of correctional services, said, according to the Guardian, that Pistorius was released at 7:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m. EDT) Monday from Kgosi Mampuru II prison in Pretoria. Pistorius will reportedly have to do community service and attend psychotherapy sessions.
"Oscar Pistorius was placed under correctional supervision tonight," Wolela said in a statement, cited by BBC, adding: "The handling of the actual placement is an operational matter of the local management, and how they handle it is their prerogative that is carried out in the best interest of all parties concerned, the victims, the offender and the Department of Correctional Services."
The release came after the parole board’s decision last week and a lawyer from the Steenkamp family, Tania Koen, said, according to CNN, that they saw it coming.
"Nothing has changed for June and Barry, nothing will bring Reeva back," Koen said, according to CNN, talking about Steenkamp’s parents, adding: "They are not surprised at all by this announcement. They expected this." Steenkamp's cousin Kim Martin told the BBC earlier Monday that Pistorius was "getting off lightly."
Judge Thokozile Masipa’s original verdict of culpable homicide has been challenged, leading the case to be heard by the country's Supreme Court of Appeals (SCA) on Nov. 3, as prosecutors claim that Pistorius should have been given a sentence of 15 years in jail, corresponding to a murder charge. The early release was also criticized by women's groups in the country.
“We pin our hopes on the SCA to repeal the judgment and that Oscar must serve a sentence that would bring him back a changed man and an advocate for women’s rights in future,” ANC Women’s League said in a statement, according to the Guardian.
The BBC report added that Pistorius was in poor physical shape and his return to athletics may not happen at all. A spokesman for International Paralympic Committee said last October that six-time Paralympic track champion Pistorius was barred from participating in the Rio 2016 Paralympics over the killing of Steenkamp. In 2012, Pistorius had competed with able-bodied athletes in the 400 meters in the Olympics at London, wearing carbon-fiber blades.