Former top athlete Oscar Pistorius is to be released on parole. This was announced by the South African Department of Corrections on Friday. Pistorius had killed his then-girlfriend on Valentine's Day 2013 and had therefore been convicted of manslaughter.

The 37-year-old is to be released from prison in the capital Pretoria on January 5. He had been classified as a "first-time offender with a positive support system," it said. A parole hearing was held on Friday morning. There, it was discussed whether or not he was suitable for "social reintegration".

Conditions for probation

His probation was conditional on him not leaving the area around the city of Pretoria, South Africa, without permission from the authorities. He will also participate in a program to deal with his anger problems, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections said. In addition, he will have to do community service.

Pistorius had killed his then-girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013 with four shots through the toilet door of his villa. The proceedings against the former sprint star dragged on for years and went through several instances.

Pistorius testified at the time that he had fired several times because he feared a burglar behind the door. But the evidence was against him. Prosecutors argued that Steenkamp fled to the toilet cubicle during a late-night argument and Pistorius killed her in his rage.

About half of the prison sentence served

The now 37-year-old has served about half of his prison sentence of 13 years and five months. Under South African law, he was automatically entitled to a parole hearing. However, a first application by the former sprint star had surprisingly failed in March. At the time, the penitentiary authority was of the opinion that he had not yet reached the required minimum term of detention.

In 2014, Pistorius was initially sentenced to five years in prison for negligent homicide of his girlfriend. After the prosecution appealed, he was finally sentenced to 2017 years and five months in prison for murder by the Supreme Court of Appeal in 13.

The authorities had relied on the last ruling to count the prison term, but the South African Constitutional Court disagreed with this view in October. The court ruled that the term of imprisonment must begin from the date on which Pistorius was first imprisoned.

At the time of the crime, Pistorius was at the zenith of his career. At the 2012 Paralympic Games, he won six gold medals on specially made carbon prostheses. As a child, his legs below the knees were amputated due to a genetic defect.