Johannesburg: South Africa has put the release of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius on hold, saying a decision to free him on Friday after serving only 10 months in prison for killing his girlfriend had been premature. Justice Minister Michael Masutha said in a surprise statement today that the June decision to allow Pistorius to serve out the remainder of his five-year sentence under house arrest had “no legal basis” and was suspended pending a parole board review.

The 28-year-old athlete was convicted in October of culpable homicide — a charge equivalent to manslaughter — over the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day in 2013, but prosecutors have appealed, seeking a murder conviction instead. The announcement comes on the very day Steenkamp, a model and law graduate, would have celebrated her 32nd birthday.

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