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Apartheid-era killer of South African icon Hani released on parole

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Janusz Walus, a far-right extremist who assassinated South African anti-apartheid leader Chris Hani nearly thirty years ago, has been released on parole, authorities said on Wednesday.

A Polish citizen who emigrated to South Africa in 1981, Walus, 69, was granted parole by the Constitutional Court in late November after serving nearly 30 years of his life sentence for Hani’s murder.

The decision has caused furore and sparked street protests in South Africa, where some say the prospect of Walus’ release re-opened deep wounds of racial inequality.

His parole takes effect from December 7, the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services said in a statement.

“He will serve two years under community corrections in line with the parole regime upon which he is released,” it said.

Walus was initially expected to be released last week, but was admitted to a hospital after being stabbed by a fellow prison inmate. Authorities said he was discharged on Wednesday.

Hani, who was a senior member of the now-ruling African National Congress and head of the South African Communist Party, was shot dead outside his home in Johannesburg in 1993.

His killing triggered nationwide riots that threatened to derail South Africa’s transition to multi-racial democracy after decades of white minority rule under apartheid.

“Offender Walus has been furnished with his parole conditions… If he violates the conditions, he will be returned to a correctional centre,” the ministry said.

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