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By Madalena Araujo, CNN
As prosecutors in the case of Oscar Pistorious were this week granted the right to appeal the culpable homicide of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, her mother said the only hope she has left is her search for truth.
“I just hope some truth comes out along the way. I'm hoping that it's a good thing because it's not dead yet, the case. It's not - you know, all through the case Reeva was deceased. They seem to forget that somebody actually died, actually,” June Steenkamp told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview that aired Friday.
State prosecutors will be able to challenge the acquittal on murder charges of the Olympic and Paralympic track star, who was sentenced in October to five years in prison for killing his girlfriend.
Pistorius maintains that he mistook the 29-year-old law graduate and model for an intruder before shooting repeatedly through a locked bathroom door, killing her almost instantly on Valentine’s Day last year.
June, who says she wrote her new book “Reeva: A Mother’s Story” as a tribute to her daughter, insists she doesn’t believe the athlete’s story.
The director of the aid group that led the effort to get South African teacher Pierre Korkie released by al Qaeda captors in Yemen told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday that his organization was unaware Korkie was being held with U.S. hostage Luke Somers.
“We also have the same problem as the Americans, we also didn’t know where Pierre was being held, we didn’t know he was with Luke Somers,” Imtiaz Sooliman, founder, director, and chairman of Gift of the Givers, told Amanpour.
Korkie and Somers, an American photojournalist, were both killed on Saturday in a failed U.S. rescue mission after the team on the ground “lost the element of surprise,” a senior State Department official told CNN.
The official also said the Obama administration was aware there were two individuals at the site but did not know one was South African or that negotiations were ongoing for his release.
On Friday, a team of tribal leaders was finalizing arrangements to release Korkie, Sooliman’s relief group said in a statement.
It is the question that remains on many people’s minds. Did Oscar Pistorius intentionally kill his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year?
“Most people who ask me that question have already made up their minds. And I sort of rather confuse people by saying, ‘I simply do not know,’” journalist John Carlin, whose new book traces the athlete’s life from his early days to the courtroom, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.
Even after the “Blade Runner” was handed a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide, Carlin said what happened on that night is still up in the air.
“I honestly don't think even the judge, who found him guilty of culpable homicide, if you really pin her down in the intimacy of her home, what do you really, really think happened, I think she'd have to say she doesn't know.”
By Mick Krever, CNN
The trial of Oscar Pistorius highlights the power of identity politics, an American civil rights lawyer who defends the disenfranchised told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday, as Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison.
“It's a dynamic that we see frequently,” Bryan Stevenson said. “When people come into the criminal courts with another identity, with another status, they tend to fare much better.”
“This young man was a respected Olympian, an athlete who was well respected and adored and that meant that he was going to get the presumption of innocence that we offer, that we say we give to everybody but that not everybody gets.”
That is particularly true of the many disenfranchised and often innocent people Stevenson represents in the U.S., a country with its own very troubled relationship to race and justice.
The organization he founded, the Equal Justice Initiative, is headquartered in the heart of the American South – Montgomery, Alabama. His new book, “Just Mercy,” is a memoir told through the stories of the cases he has fought.
“Our system treats you better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent, and that's because wealth, not culpability, tends to shape outcomes."
Graça Machel, in her first TV interview after six months of mourning for her late husband, Nelson Mandela, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday that she still has not grappled with the full meaning of “this huge loss.”
“I have to tell you that there were times where I would wake up and I wouldn’t know what to do,” she said. “Somehow he would expect me to carry on.”
“During the time of his active live, we knew that people loved him. But it was beyond my imagination to see when he got sick, people who would send us messages, people who would write, people who would pray for him.”
When he died last December, after months of grave illness, Machel did not follow the outpouring of support from around the world.
“I was consumed with my sense of loss. But I have been told that for days, every single TV station, every single radio would be talking about him, celebrating his life.”
“I was a full-on racist by the time I started working for him.”
That is the shocking revelation from Nelson Mandela’s long-time personal assistant, gatekeeper, and trusted aide, Zelda la Grange, a white Afrikaner.
“Now looking back, if you [asked] me at the age of twenty-three I would probably have denied being a racist,” she told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday. “Now it's easier, because you can recognize the change in yourself.”
La Grange was born the year after Mandela was sent to prison; little in her upbringing suggests she was destined to be confidant to the world’s foremost black liberation leader.
She had been so ignorant of her country’s politics that she hadn’t even heard of Mandela when it was announced he would be released from prison, in 1990.
As South Africa holds elections, Christiane Amanpour speaks with Thuli Madonsela, the country's Public Protector.
Click above to watch.
Action by the Nigerian government and international partners to go after the group that has held more than 200 girls captive in that country should have come sooner, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.
“I think the government should do all it can to get the girls free,” he said, “and I’m very happy that the U.S., the U.K., and other governments are teaming up with Nigeria to resolve this issue.”
“I wish this had happened earlier, but it is happening, and the Nigerian people are also demanding action.”
Boko Haram abducted 276 schoolgirls last month, and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has come under fire after waiting three weeks to publicly acknowledge the kidnappings.
The Nigerian government also now accepted U.S. and British offers of assistance, officials with those governments said.
The kidnapping, Annan said, are “abominable.”
“It is something that should not be happening in modern-day Africa.”
Annan is uniquely placed to address the issue.
On the day Olympic star Oscar Pistorius testified in a South African court about the killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, a South African gun control advocate told CNN’s Fred Pleitgen, in for Christiane Amanpour, that the case “fits the profile.”
“It’s highly racialized, gun ownership – the use of guns, but also who the victims are,” Adele Kirsten of Gun Free South Africa said.
Women “are particularly vulnerable in their home to be shot and killed by a man intimate and known to them, usually with a legal gun,” as was the case with Pistorius and Steenkamp.
Cold-blooded murder or tragic accident?
Oscar Pistorius broke down on the witness stand Tuesday, sobbing as he recounted the moment he realized he had fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
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