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Rights group slams decision to grant rapist Bob Hewitt parole

The former tennis star was sentenced to six years behind bars in 2015 after he was found guilty of raping and sexually assaulting three youths he was coaching over 20 years ago.

FILE: Former South African tennis star Bob Hewitt in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Rights group Women and Men Against Child Abuse has described the decision to grant Bob Hewitt parole as a step back in the fight for justice in historic abuse cases.

On Tuesday, the Department of Justice and Correctional Services announced Hewitt would be released on parole next month.

The former tennis star was sentenced to six years behind bars in 2015 after he was found guilty of raping and sexually assaulting three youths he was coaching over 20 years ago.

Women and Men Against Child Abuse said they were disappointed that Hewitt would be released before completing his six-year sentence.

The groups Ngaa Murombedzi said: “It’s a step backwards in terms of getting justice for victims of historical cases of child sexual abuse.”

She said the decision to grant Hewitt parole had raised concerns about the country's parole processes.

“This is something that helps us to understand parole processes, which don’t reflect at all the experiences of victims.”

The group has commended the victims of Hewitts abuse for their courage and bravery.