Selebi to get 22 hours of freedom a week

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Copy of selebi_dec 2 INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi. Photo: Antoine de Ras

Jackie Selebi, under house detention, is allowed two hours of freedom from his restriction each weekday, and six hours each day over the weekend, but he is not permitted to abuse alcohol at all.

The disgraced former police commissioner, who was released on medical parole on Friday, is now expected to stay at home.

“He’s regarded as a medium-risk category,” said James Smalberger, the Department of Correctional Services’ chief deputy commissioner responsible for incarceration and corrections. “If you are a medium-risk category, then you are under house detention.

“From Monday to Friday, he will have two hours’ free time a day. In other words, if he recuperates and wants to buy a newspaper, he can go to the corner and buy a newspaper and go back home. On Saturdays and Sundays, the free hours become six hours. If you want to go to church on Sunday, you have that free time.”

Smalberger said the conditions included that Selebi may not commit any crimes; may not change his residential address or leave the Pretoria magisterial district without Correctional Services’ approval; and may not use drugs or misuse alcohol.

Correctional Services officials will visit him at least once a week, unannounced, and he should expect phone calls from them – on his landline, not cellphone.

Selebi’s application for medical parole was processed under a new system, set up after the outcry over Schabir Shaik’s medical parole, which appeared to have been followed by a miraculous recovery.

Smalberger said the Medical Parole Advisory Board started operating in March and its first meeting was last month.

Selebi’s wife had applied on his behalf in early April, and his application was among the first 12 processed. Smalberger said six of those had been approved. Three applicants had died before the processes were finalised.

It is understood that the decision recommending Selebi’s parole was unanimous.

The board is due to sit again on Wednesday to process the applications received since then.

“If the Medical Parole Advisory Board recommends medical release, they are giving us professional, independent advice, because none of the 11 doctors works for Correctional Services. They are private practitioners,” said Smalberger. “They are not interested in the crime nor the sentence.”

The board’s recommendation goes to the parole board.

Selebi’s 15-year sentence for fraud and corruption has not been overturned, but rather his case has been transferred from a prison to the community corrections section.

 

Questions have been raised over whether or not rightwinger Clive Derby-Lewis was up for consideration, but he has not applied.

“All of the conditions that were a danger to his health have been brought under control and stabilised,” said Marius Coertze, Derby-Lewis’s lawyer. “He may be ill, but his health has stabilised, so there’s no reason to take further steps there.”

Derby-Lewis was refused ordinary parole last year, but this is being challenged in court.

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