South African prosecutors seek longer prison term for Pistorius

South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority is seeking permission to appeal the six-year prison sentence handed to athlete Oscar Pistorius for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, describing it as "shockingly too lenient."

The double-amputee Olympic sprinter fired four shots at the model through a bathroom door in his Pretoria home on February 14, 2013.

"We respectfully submit that the sentence of six years imprisonment, in all the circumstances, is disproportionate to the crime of murder committed ... shockingly too lenient, and has accordingly resulted in an injustice," the NPA said in a Thursday statement.

Judge Thokozile Masipa initially sentenced Pistorius to five years in prison for manslaughter in October 2014, accepting his testimony that he mistook Steenkamp for a burglar when he shot her.

The Supreme Court of Appeal overturned her verdict in December, arguing that the athlete knew his shots could kill someone, and found him guilty of murder.

Masipa issued the new six-year sentence on July 6, citing "mitigating circumstances" for not adhering to South Africa's 15-year minimum sentence for murder. Pistorius had shown obvious remorse and was unlikely to reoffend, Masipa said.

The NPA said Thursday it would file the application for permission to appeal the sentence.

"We hope that this appeal will also clarify further the principles of sentencing, particularly in crime categories for which there are prescribed minimum sentences ordained by legislation," the statement said.

Criminal lawyer Keith Gess told dpa it was far from certain that Masipa would grant the prosecutors the permission to appeal because there had been no change in the facts used to decide the sentence.

But Masipa has come under pressure from critics decrying her for being too lenient, and the criticism might prompt her to allow the appeal to go ahead, Gess added.

If permission to appeal is granted, the case will return to the Supreme Court of Appeal, which could modify the sentence.

Last update: Thu, 21/07/2016 - 14:30
Author: 

More from World

US astronaut John Glenn - "ultimate hometown hero" - dies at age 95

Former astronaut and US senator John Glenn, who shot to fame in 1962 as the first American to orbit the Earth, died...

Gambian president-elect says he will reverse decision to leave ICC

Gambia will reverse its decision to leave the International Criminal Court, president-elect Adama Barrow announced...

Tsunami threat declared over for Solomon Islands after massive quake

The tsunami threat from Friday's magnitude-7.8 earthquake near the Solomon Islands has passed, says the Pacific...

Saudi Arabia "playing proxy wars," Boris Johnson says in latest gaffe

British ally Saudi Arabia is "puppeteering and playing proxy wars" in the Middle East and, like Iran, is "twisting...

Russia: Syrian military suspends Aleppo attacks to allow evacuation

The Syrian military has suspended its attacks on militant-held eastern Aleppo to let civilians be evacuated to...