Entries in Family (6)


Oscar Pistorius Family Says They Realize 'Law Must Run Its Course'

Richard Huggard/Gallo Images/Getty Images(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius is spending time with his family on Saturday after the athlete was freed on $113,000 bail Friday.

"We realise that the law must run its course, and we would not have it any other way," the Olympian's uncle, Arnold Pistorius said in a statement on Saturday.

The Pistorius family expressed their gratitude that the former Olympian was allowed out of jail before the trial.

"This constitutes a moment of relief under these otherwise very grave circumstances" said Arnold Pistorius."We are extremely thankful that Oscar is now home."

Pistorius, 26, is charged with premeditated murder in the Valentine's Day shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

While the prosecution argued that the world-renowned athlete was a flight risk and had a history of violence, South African Magistrate Desmond Nair, who presided over the case, disagreed.

"He regards South Africa as his permanent place of abode, he has no intention to relocate to any other country" Nair said during his two hour ruling, before concluding with, "the accused has made the case to be released on bail."

Pistorius will have to adhere to strict conditions to stay out of jail before the trial. He must give up all his guns, he cannot drink alcohol or return to the home where the shooting occurred, and he must check in with a police department twice a week.

Oscar Pistorius is believed to be staying at an uncle's house as he awaits trial.

During the hearing, the prosecution argued that Pistorius shot Steenkamp after an argument, while the defense laid out an alternate version of events saying Pistorius mistook his girlfriend for an intruder.

Nair took issue with the head detective originally in charge of the case, who he said "blundered" in gathering evidence and was removed from the case after it was revealed he is facing attempted murder charges.

After the magistrate's decision, cheers erupted in the courtroom from the Pistorius camp. Pistorius' trial is expected to start in six to eight months, with his next pre-trial court date in June.

Reeva Steenkamp Family Reaction

Steenkamp's father, Barry Steenkamp told the South African Beeld newspaper that the 26-year-old athlete will "suffer" if he is lying about accidentally shooting 29-year-old model.

Barry Steenkamp went on to say that the Pistorius will have to "live with his conscience" if he intentionally shot Reeva.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Oscar Pistorius' Family Defends Olympian

Liza van Deventer/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- Oscar Pistorius' family and friends are rallying to his defense on Sunday, saying they believe the Paralympic gold medalist's story that he shot his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by accident after he mistook her for an intruder.

"When you are a sportsman, you act even more on instinct ... it's instinct -- things happen and that's what you do," Pistorius' father Henke Pistorius, 59, told The Telegraph. The 26-year-old athlete, known as the "Blade Runner" because of the carbon-fiber blades he runs on, was charged Friday with premeditated murder.

If convicted, Pistorius could face at least 25 years in jail.

"All of us saw at firsthand how close [Steenkamp] had become to Oscar during that time and how happy they were. They had plans together and Oscar was happier in his private life than he had been for a long time," Pistorius' uncle Arnold Pistorius said on Saturday.

According to South African newspaper Beeld, Steenkamp was killed nearly two hours after police were called to Pistorius' home to respond to reports of an argument at the complex.

Police said they have responded to disputes at the sprinter's residence before, but did not say whether Steenkamp was involved.

The athlete's best friend said Pistorius called him after the shooting to say "there has been a terrible accident, I shot Reeva," Justin Divaris told the Sunday People.

While his family insists he is not a murderer, prosecutors disagree.

Police sources told local media that Steenkamp was shot through the bathroom door where she may have been trying to hide to save herself.

Steenkamp's father, Barry Steenkamp, told the Sunday Mail that they "just need to find some answers."

"We ask the lord every day to help us find a reason why this should happen to Reeva," he told the Mail.

Oscar Pistorius will remain in jail until at least his bond hearing next Tuesday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Meredith Kercher's Family Hopes Truth Will Emerge

British student Meredith Kercher's sister Stephanie Kercher looks on as she listens to the verdict during the appeal trial session at the Perugia court on Oct. 3, 2011 in Perugia, Italy. American student Amanda Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito have won their appeal against their conviction in 2009 of killing their British roommate Meredith Kercher in Italy in 2007. Alessandro Bianchi - Pool/Getty Images(PERUGIA, Italy) -- The mother of Meredith Kercher sat stoicly in the front of the courtroom Monday as Amanda Knox's family and supporters erupted into cheers and hugs when Knox was acquitted of Kercher's murder.

The Kercher family, who earlier in the day professed its belief that Knox was involved in Meredith's death, remained behind in the courtroom long after the Knox family and its supporters poured into the streets in celebration. Arline Kercher was held upright by her daughter and attorney as she made her way through a crowd of reporters to a waiting vehicle.

The family later released a statement expressing its disappointment and confusion over the trial.

"We respect the decision of the judges. But we do not understand how the decision of the first trial could be so radically overturned. We still trust the Italian judicial system, and hope that the truth will eventually emerge," they said.

Earlier in the day, the family told reporters that the media attention surrounding Knox's appeal had overshadowed Meredith's grisly murder.

"What everyone needs to remember is the brutality of what actually happened that night -- everything Meredith must have felt, the fear and the terror and not knowing why. She didn't deserve that, no one does. She'd been here for two months, and she loved this place," said Stephanie Kercher, Meredith's sister.

The family also criticized Knox family's use of the media to gain sympathy for its daughter, calling the family a "PR machine" against whom they had to battle to keep the memory of their beloved "Mez" alive.

"It's very difficult to talk about forgiveness at this time, with the [media] hype around the case. And the defendant is involved in that. The brutality of it has been forgotten," said Kercher's brother, Lyle.

Arline Kercher said before the verdict was announced that she hoped the evidence keeping Knox and Sollecito in prison would be upheld despite the media attention surrounding the case.

"What I want and what the Knoxes want doesn't come into play today," she said. "It's what the police have found, the science has found, the evidence, and that's all you can go on."

The Kerchers had stayed away from the nearly year-long trial in Perugia, Italy, until Monday, when they arrived to witness the appeals verdict.

When asked if they believed in the original guilty verdict, Stephanie Kercher said, "We were satisfied with the verdict....Nothing's changed."

Referring to the gruesome autopsy photos that were shown during the trial and appeal, the brother said, "If we had them all up here," he said pointing to the wall behind him, "you would find it hard to forgive someone who had done that to your loved one.

"I'm not sure we'll be looking for forgiveness for a while," he said.

The Kercher family, who traveled from its home in Great Britain, is wary about the current attention on Knox instead of Meredith Kercher.

Kercher, a student at the University of Leeds, was studying in Perugia for a year when she was killed. She had been sharing an apartment with Knox, an American student, and two Italian women. She was found partially nude and with her throat slit in her bedroom on Nov. 2, 2007.

A third person, Rudy Guede, 22, was also convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role in her murder.

During her final statement to the court in pleading for her freedom Monday, Knox said Kercher was her friend, someone she "shared my life with. She cared for me."

Kercher's mother downplayed their friendship.

"I don't think they were that close....Amanda only got there in the beginning of October, and Meredith was murdered on the first of November," Arline Kercher said. "I think they were friendly but not that close."

The family shared memories of Meredith Kercher. "Mez was just a lovely girl....She was always there for everyone," Stephanie Kercher said.

Arline Kercher cited a line in a story she read about the murder, saying, "I think it happened to Meredith because she was all that they weren't."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Algeria Confirms Gadhafi Family’s Entry, Sidesteps UN Sanction Question

U.S. State Department(NEW YORK) -- Did Algeria violate U.N. sanctions by taking in Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s family?

Algeria sent a letter to the United Nations on Tuesday seeking to explain why it allowed members of Gadhafi’s family to enter the country Monday, despite an international travel ban imposed earlier this year.

The letter, written in French and obtained by ABC News from a U.N. diplomat, confirms details of the Gadhafi family’s crossing, including which individuals made the trip and that one individual -- reportedly Gadhafi’s daughter Aisha -- gave birth along the way.  The letter says the family crossed the border around 8:45 a.m. local time on Monday in a Mercedes and a bus.

The letter does not explain why Algeria allowed them to cross the border, other than to repeat public comments that it was for “humanitarian” reasons.

U.N. Security Council Resolution 1970, passed against Gadhafi in February, includes a travel ban on the leader, his family, and top officials.  According to the sanctions list, also obtained by ABC News in February, several family members were included in the travel ban, including three who were among the family members who crossed into Algeria: daughter Aisha and sons Hannibal and Mohammed.  Gadhafi’s wife Sofia also crossed the border Monday, but she was not subject to the U.N. travel ban.

Diplomats in New York are trying to figure out what to do next and whether Algeria’s actions were justified or a breach of U.N. sanctions.

“There are concerns that this isn’t in keeping with the travel ban restrictions under U.N. Security Council 1970,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters Tuesday, but she reserved final judgment on this, adding: “Under 1970, if a country takes steps beyond the U.N. Security Council resolution, it has 48 hours to explain itself to Security Council members.  And this is what that letter endeavors to do.  With regard to our response to it, I think it’s too early to tell.”

Nuland said Algeria’s foreign minister called the U.S. ambassador on Monday to inform him that Gadhafi’s family was allowed into the country.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gadhafi Daughter Gives Birth in Algerian Exile: Report

KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In perhaps the most potent symbol yet that Moammar Gadhafi's family has overstayed its welcome in Libya, the dictator's newest grandchild has been born in Algerian exile after its mother's desperate flight from the country's revolution, Algerian officials said.

Moammar Gadhafi's daughter, Aisha Gadhafi, took refuge in Algeria Monday along with her brothers Mohammed and Hannibal after rebel forces poured into the Libyan capital in search of the dictator and his privileged heirs. Moammar's wife, Safia, also escaped to Algeria in the convoy.

The Algerian government confirmed Gadhafi's kin had entered the country and said they had been accepted on humanitarian grounds. In a letter to the United Nations Security Council obtained by ABC News, the Algerian ambassador informed the U.N. that two vehicles entered Algeria Monday morning carrying the Gadhafi children, "accompanied by their children, one of whom was born the same day without medical assistance."

An unidentified Algerian official told The Washington Post Tuesday that child belonged to Aisha and said, "Mother and daughter are doing fine."

The rebel leadership said Monday it would "demand that Algerian authorities hand them over to Libya to be tried before Libyan courts."

Aisha apparently left in such a hurry she did not have time to pack as she fled her palatial home. In a tour of the home, ABC News cameras discovered a beauty parlor, a spa, huge entertainment rooms, satin sheets on the beds and a gilded bench displaying Aisha's head.

The home, which was previously strictly off-limits to the public, has now been opened for all of Libya to see. In a city with no running water, there was no keeping the local kids out of the massive indoor pool.

The sight of the Libyan leader's daughter's home enraged many Libyans who feel betrayed by the Gadhafi family, who claimed to be "of the people."

"How she can sleep? How can she drink? How she can eat?" asked one Libyan woman indignantly.

Aisha Gadhafi, a military official, a former U.N. Goodwill Ambassador and a lawyer, aided the defense in the trial of Saddam Hussein. Hannibal Gadhafi headed the maritime transport company while Mohammed Gadhafi worked on the national Olympic committee.

The search is still on for Gadhafi and his other sons, including Libya's de facto prime minister Saif al-Islam. One of Saif al-Islam's brothers, Saif al-Arab, was killed in an airstrike in April. Rebels claimed to have killed another son, Khamis Gadhafi, the head of Libya's elite military unit the Khamis Brigade, over the weekend -- the third time Khamis has publicly been declared dead. One rumored location for Gadhafi and his boys is Sirte, Gadhafi's hometown. As rebel forces bear down on the port city, they issued a direct warning to any pro-Gadhafi forces there: drop your weapons or prepare for a violent military offensive.

In military barracks in Tripoli, there was evidence that Gadhafi's soldiers allegedly carried out mass murder as the regime collapsed over the past six months. In a Libyan prison, there were remains of close to 100 charred bodies of supporters of the revolution. A survivor who managed to escape said they were told they were being freed.

"When a Gadhafi soldier unlocked the door, other guards started shooting," he said. "Others threw in grenades."

The bodies have now been removed for identification and burial, but there are still thousands of other prisoners who are missing and unaccounted for -- some are believed to be held in secret prisons. A desperate search has begun to find them before, it's feared, they starve to death.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Shanghai Implements 'One Household, One Dog' Policy

Chris Amaral/Thinkstock(SHANGHAI) -- China’s most-populated city is seeking to cut down on its dog population, by implementing a new rule which calls for a maximum of one dog per family.

The “one household, one dog” policy is scheduled to take effect in Shanghai on Sunday and applies to local city residents, as well as to foreign residents. According to Shanghai Municipal Government officials, the only people exempted from the rule are families who already have licenses for more than one dog.

City officials say approximately 140,000 of the city’s dogs are licensed, while at least 600,000 dogs are not licensed.

New city regulations will see licensing fees cut by 75 percent, dropping down to 500 yuan ($77), which officials hope will encourage dog owners to have their pets licensed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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