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Oscar Pistorius' prison release delayed

JOHANNESBURG -- South Africa's Department of Justice said it is putting Oscar Pistorius' release from prison on hold until his case is reviewed again by a parole board.

Department spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said Pistorius' release will have to be reviewed again because he was approved to be moved to house arrest too early.

"It is apparent... that the decision to release him on 21 August 2015 was made prematurely on 5 June 2015 when the offender was not eligible to be considered at all," Mhaga said in a statement.

Oscar Pistorius: Shots in the Dark

"The consequence of this decision is that the earlier decision of the Parole Board to place the offender under correctional supervision is suspended until the Parole Review Board has decided on the matter," Mhaga said.

Mhaga said Pistorius should have served 10 months of his sentence before being considered for release. He was approved for parole in June, eight months into his sentence.

Pistorius was due to be moved to house arrest on Friday after serving 10 months of his five-year sentence for manslaughter for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013.

Mhaga didn't say when the parole board would meet to consider Pistorius for release from jail.

At the Supreme Court, the second-highest in South Africa, a panel of judges will review Pistorius' trial and decide whether Judge Thokozile Masipa made an error in acquitting him of murder in September last year. If the panel finds Pistorius guilty on appeal, he will face a minimum sentence of 15 years in jail. South Africa doesn't have the death penalty.

Prosecutors argue that he should have been found guilty of murder for shooting Steenkamp multiple times through a toilet door in his home. Pistorius said he mistook her for an intruder and fired in self-defense. Prosecutors, in appeal papers filed Monday, said Pistorius intended to kill whoever was behind the door. During his trial, the prosecution accused the runner of shooting Steenkamp during an argument.

Steenkamp's parents and several other people gathered on a beach in Port Elizabeth for a ceremony on Wednesday, their daughter's 32nd birthday. Footage from South African broadcaster eNCA showed them throwing red and pink roses into the Indian Ocean and embracing. The family asked journalists to keep a respectful distance and would not comment.

"We are still struggling with coming to terms with losing our precious daughter Reeva and her loss is felt even more this week," parents Barry and June Steenkamp said in an earlier statement.

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