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Oscar Pistorius’ request for house arrest granted

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(CNN) — A South African parole board on Thursday approved a request to move Oscar Pistorius to house arrest from prison — where he’s been since his conviction last year in his girlfriend’s fatal shooting, a lawyer told CNN.

Tania Koen, a lawyer for the family of Reeva Steenkamp, said Pistorius will be released to house arrest Tuesday.

“Nothing has changed for June and Barry, nothing will bring Reeva back,” Koen said, referring to Steenkamp’s parents. “They are not surprised at all by this announcement. They expected this.”

Board members had gathered Thursday in the latest of a series of meetings to consider whether to place Pistorius under house arrest.

The former Olympic athlete has been in prison since October last year, when a judge sentenced him to five years for culpable homicide in the killing of Steenkamp.

Lengthy battle

During the sentencing, his defense team believed he would be eligible to transfer to house arrest on August 21 — 10 months after he was sentenced.

The nation’s correctional services act allows convicted criminals who have served at least one-sixth of their sentence to serve the remainder under house arrest.

In August, the justice ministry made a last-minute intervention, blocking his release and asking a parole review board to look at his case.

This month, the parole review board referred the case back to the broader correctional supervision and parole board for reconsideration.

“The decision … is to refer the (matter) back to the parole board because they believe the decision (to possibly let him out of jail) was made prematurely, Pistorius’ lawyer Brian Webber said this month.

‘Blade Runner’

Pistorius shot Steenkamp, a model and law school graduate, on Valentine’s Day 2013. He has said he mistook her for an intruder.

The killing stunned the nation, where the famous athlete is nicknamed the “Blade Runner” because he ran on special carbon-fiber prostheses.

Despite getting both legs amputated below the knee as a toddler, he excelled in sports, representing his country in Paralympic Games and the 2012 London Olympics.

Steenkamp was found shot to death in Pistorius’ home, and he acknowledged firing the fatal shots through his bathroom door.

Last year, a judge found him “negligent” in Steenkamp’s death. But the judge said he did not commit murder nor did he intend to kill her.

Prosecutors are appealing the verdict, believing Pistorius, who is now 28, should be convicted of murder.

The state’s appeal is set to take place next month.

CNN”s Brent Swails contributed to this report.