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After prison, Pistorius set for 'mansion arrest'

pistoriusPRETORIA--In one of the wealthiest suburbs of South Africa's capital Pretoria stands a three-storey mansion where Paralympic gold medallist Oscar Pistorius will be taken on his release from prison this week.

Pistorius, 29, is expected to wear an electronic tracking tag when he is released on Friday after serving 10 months of a five-year sentence for killing his model and law graduate girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013. The release of Pistorius, whose lower legs were amputated when he was a baby, is in line with South African sentencing guidelines that say non-dangerous prisoners should spend only one-sixth of a custodial sentence behind bars.

Pistorius is due to serve the rest of his term in "custodial supervision", a form of house arrest. He will be mostly confined to the home of his uncle, Arnold, a high-walled manor in the leafy suburb of Waterkloof that features more than a dozen bedrooms, a private gym, outdoor swimming pool and landscaped gardens.

The athlete, nicknamed 'Blade Runner' because of the carbon-fibre prosthetics he used during his stellar career on the track, will likely be allowed to leave the house to work, carry out community service or to attend important family events.

In a country with one of the world's highest rates of violent crime and where many still live in poverty, there is limited sympathy for Pistorius. "It's more like mansion arrest," said Christopher, 31, a security guard who works on Arnold's road but lives in a basic two room flat in a rundown suburb of Johannesburg.

Steenkamp's parents did not respond to requests for comment. They said at the time of Pistorius' sentencing that spending 10 months in prison "for taking a life is simply not enough" and it would send out the wrong message to society.

Experts who deal with former prisoners say the public is often unaware of how tough life can be.