Omar Sabadia and Zahida Sabadia
Pretoria - Omar Sabadia on Friday received the news that this will be his last Christmas in jail, after spending more than 20 years behind bars for the killing of his wife Zahida.

The parole board released its decision to his children. He will be paroled on May 15, 2019. His release has various conditions - he must be assisted in crafting a sound reintegration plan and a social worker must continue to strengthen his family support.

In the past, his three children vehemently opposed his release. When parole was refused, his daughter Anjum Moosa, said she was relieved her father would remain behind bars. Her siblings shared the sentiment. The children were small when their mother was murdered and they were raised by their maternal grandparents.

The children could not be reached for comment, but their lawyer Ahmed Suliman said the family was disappointed by the news. “But they have accepted that he cannot stay indefinitely in prison. They accept the decision of the parole board and are delighted that he will only be released next year and there are still numerous programmes he must attend.”

The parole board requested the head of Kgosi Mampuru Prison in Pretoria, to approve weekend visits for Sabadia as a means of helping his reintegration to society.

He is required to attend pre-release programmes in jail and an intensive substance abuse programme with a psychologist.

Sabadia had been due to leave prison on June 20 this year, but his children and their maternal grandfather, the father of the murdered medical student Zahida Sabadia vehemently objected to his release.

Zahida went missing in February 1996. Her body was found 22 days later, tied to a tree in GaRankuwa. Her husband led a team of detectives to the spot where she was killed, after he had made “a confession”.

It later emerged Sabadia, a well-known psychiatrist at the time, had hired three hitmen to murder his wife.

Pretoria News