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Releasing terminally ill prisoners on medical parole in South Africa

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Abstract:

The release on medical parole of a prominent and influential South African businessman, Mr Schabir Shaik, who served less than 3 years of his 15-year prison term, put the issue of medical parole under the spotlight with several newspaper articles, radio stations and television channels expressing different views regarding his release. There were also allegations that the medical officers who had recommended his release had acted unprofessionally – until they were vindicated by the Health Professions Council of South Africa. This article discusses the law relating to medical parole in South Africa and cases where courts have released offenders on medical parole, and gives statistics of offenders who have been released on medical parole since 1996. It also highlights some of the contentious issues relating to medical parole.

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