TIME South Africa

Oscar Pistorius at Risk of Suicide, Psychologist Says

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock during his murder trial at the High Court in Pretoria, on July 2, 2014.
Paralympian Oscar Pistorius sits in the dock during his murder trial at the High Court in Pretoria, on July 2, 2014. Gianluigi Guercia—AFP/Getty Images

After a month of psychiatric evaluation, a report claims the Paralympian is suffering from PTSD after he shot and killed his girlfriend last year

Oscar Pistorius is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and could commit suicide, according to a psychologist’s report heard at his trial Wednesday.

The report, which was read out by the Olympic athlete’s defense lawyer Barry Roux, claimed he was traumatized by the death of the girlfriend he claims he accidentally killed, the BBC reports. Pistorius was charged with Steenkamp’s murder after he repeatedly shot her on Feb. 14, 2013. The athlete claims he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder.

“The degree of anxiety and depression that is present is significant, he is also mourning the loss of Miss Steenkamp,” Roux read out. “Should he not receive proper clinical care, his condition is likely to worsen and increase the risk for suicide.” This new report follows one heard by the court Monday that said Pistorius wasn’t suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the killing.

The prosecution, led by Gerrie Nel, has alleged that double-amputee Pistorius deliberately shot the model and law graduate after the couple had an argument.

Neither prosecution nor defense has challenged this second report as both sides can use it to their advantage. The prosecution, led by Gerrie Nel said the report shows Pistorius can recognize right and wrong and so can be held responsible for his actions.

Roux said the report, a culmination of a month of psychiatric evaluation, showed Pistorius had a history of feeling insecure, in part because of his reliance on prosthetic legs. It also found no signs of narcissism or explosive rage that can characterize abusive men, he said.

Pistorius has denied the murder charge. If convicted he faces a minimum jail sentence of 25 years.

[BBC]

 

TIME Paralympic Games

Ukraine Wins 5 Medals On First Day of Sochi Paralympics

Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games
Olena Iurkovska of Ukraine celebrates during the flower ceremony at the Biathlon Women's 6km Sitting competition during the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games, March 8, 2014. Krasnaya Polyana, Russia, 08 March 2014. Valdrin Xhemaj—EPA

Amid the growing tensions involving Russia, Ukraine scored five medals at the Sochi Paralympics, with Olena Iurkovska winning the bronze in the women's six-kilometer sitting competition and dedicating her victory to her country's independence

The first Ukrainian medalist of the Sochi Paralympic Games dedicated her achievement Saturday to her country’s independence, as the embattled country took five medals on the first day of competition.

Olena Iurkovska won bronze in the women’s six-kilometer sitting competition Saturday as tensions between Moscow and Kiev seemed to approach a breaking point. Russian troops invaded Crimea last week and on Friday, the government supported the region’s referendum to secede to full Russian control.

Iurkovska won a medal only hours after Ukraine decided to compete in Russia in defiance of the crisis, reports the Associated Press. “I devote my first medal in Sochi to an independent Ukraine,” she said. “Every time I race, it will be for Ukrainian independence and peace in my country.”

Appealing for peace at the post-event flower ceremony Saturday, Iurkovska embraced Valentina Matvienko, the speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament, which just the day before had pledged to support Crimea’s bid to join Russia.

Ukraine won two more bronze medals in the biathlon Saturday while Maksym Yarovyi claimed silver in the men’s 7.5-kilometer sitting event and Vitaliy Lukyanenko took gold in the visually impaired class. Russia won a total of 12 medals in the first day of competition.

[AP]

TIME Foreign Policy

U.S. To Boycott Sochi Paralympics In Protest Over Ukraine Incursion

As State Department spokesperson says sanctions against Russia are "likely"

The United States announced Monday it would boycott the upcoming Paralympic Games in Sochi to protest Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, as a State Department spokesperson said it was “likely” that the U.S. would impose sanctions on Russia.

The boycott effectively means a presidential delegation will not be attending the games, an announcement that comes as President Obama and Congress scramble to respond to Russia’s aggression on Ukrainian territory in Crimea.

“In addition to other measures we are taking in response to the situation in Ukraine, the United States will no longer send a Presidential Delegation to the upcoming Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi,” said Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the president’s National Security Council. “President Obama continues to strongly support all of the U.S. athletes who will participate in the Paralympics and wishes them great success in the Olympic competition.”

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said Monday that sanctions on Russia were increasingly probable, given the escalation in tensions. “At this point we’re not just considering sanctions. We are preparing options and we are likely moving down that path if things proceed.”

British government officials are also boycotting the Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Agence France-Presse reports. Prime Minister David Cameron said Sunday he thought it would be “wrong” for government ministers to go to the Games given the unfolding events in Ukraine.

The boycott is the first definite measure Western leaders have taken to isolate Russia following Putin’s unprovoked attack in Crimea. Other measures discussed include expelling Russia from the G8 (which also includes the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada) and imposing economic sanctions on the country.

The United Nations Security Council plans to meet Monday to discuss the crisis. In addition, the European Union’s 28 leaders will hold an emergency summit on Ukraine Thursday, reports the Associated Press.

Additional reporting by Zeke J. Miller

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