Oscar Pistorius Faces Notorious South African Prison If Denied Bail
Oscar Pistorius is arguing for bail in his trial for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, leaving the onetime Olympic hero facing one of South Africa’s most notorious and brutal prisons if his bid is denied.
Pistorius was arrested in the shooting death of his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day. He was charged with premeditated murder.
Lawyers for the man known as Blade Runner have argued with prosecutors for the past three days in a bail hearing that is expected to conclude Friday. The decision from chief magistrate Desmond Nair could leave Pistorius facing time in Pretoria Central Prison, which has a fearsome reputation.
The prison has been the center of allegations of rape, violence, and cramped conditions, Yahoo! News noted. It is also unclear what accommodations the prison could make for Pistorius, who underwent a double amputation as a child.
Whatever help he is given, Pistorius still faces a difficult and dangerous setting. From Yahoo! News:
“Inmates at the jail sleep in communal dormitories measuring 100 feet x 30 feet, each holding 17 bunk beds. Much like the entire South African prison system, it has suffered from overcrowding and unrest.
“Just two weeks ago, six inmates brought a court case against the prison in an attempt to improve what they described as their ‘inhumane living conditions.’ “
One complaintant, Warner Wessels, told the court, “Gangsters want to have sex with me and threaten to stab me if I tell the officials. Drugs are freely available in jail and I have a serious drug problem for which I do not get help.”
While he argues bail, Oscar Pistorius’ case has taken a bizarre turn. The prosecutor in charge of his case, Hilton Botha, has himself been brought up on charges of attempted murder. Boths had tried to stop a minibus of seen people and reportedly fired shots, Reuters reported.