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South African state prosecutors say they will appeal Pistorius verdict


Oscar PistoriusSouth African state prosecutors say they will appeal Pistorius verdict

State prosecutors in South Africa say they will appeal the verdict handed down to Oscar Pistorius, along with his five-year sentence. If the appeal succeeds, Pistorius could face a 15-year sentence for murder.

A spokesman for South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Monday that prosecutors would appeal the conviction of culpable homicide and five-year jail sentence handed down last week to Oscar Pistorius.

"Oscar Pistorius judgement, NPA will be appealing both the conviction and sentence," Nathi Mncube said on his Twitter feed.

Pistorius, an Olympic and Paralympic track star, began serving his prison sentence on October 21 after being found guilty of negligent killing for having shot dead his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, through a toilet door on Valentine's Day 2013.

Under the terms of the sentence, Pistorius is eligible for release into house arrest after 10 months.

Murder acquittal

Prosecutors insisted that he should have been found guilty of murder instead of the lesser charge of culpable homicide or manslaughter. A murder conviction in South Africa carries a prison sentence of up to 15 years.

Some experts say Judge Thokozile Masipa may have made an error in acquitting Pistorius of murder, basing their opinion on a part of South African law that calls for a murder conviction if someone foresees the possibility of killing a person and goes ahead despite this.

Pistorius shot four times from close range into the toilet cubicle, which precluded his not foreseeing the possible death of the person in it, the experts argue.

The verdict divided opinion in South Africa, with some people saying that Pistorius, a double-amputee, received a lenient sentence because he was rich and famous.

The 27-year-old Pistorius, known as the "Blade Runner" because of the carbon-fiber prosthetic legs he uses to compete, has won six Paralympic gold medals in his career. He rose to additional worldwide stardom when he won a court case to be allowed to compete against able-bodied athletes at the London Olympics in 2012.

Pistorius has always said the killing of 29-year-old model and television personality Reeva Steenkamp, his girlfriend of three months, was accidental and that he mistook her for an intruder.

This was the account accepted by the judge during his trial.

tj/nm (AP, Reuters)

Source: Deutsche Welle



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