Oscar Pistorius appeal hearing set

Pistorius will seek permission to appeal against his 6-year murder sentence tomorrow in South Africa

By Sinikka Tarvainen

JOHANNESBURG — South African prosecutors will on August 26 seek permission to appeal against Oscar Pistorius' six-year prison sentence for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, a spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority said Thursday.

A court hearing will be held in Pretoria in the presence of judge Thokozile Masipa, who sentenced the former Olympic and Paralympic athlete on July 6, spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku told dpa.

Prosecutors plan to argue that another judge could have come to a different conclusion than Masipa, whose sentence was widely criticized as being lenient.

If Masipa accepts the argument and grants prosecutors leave to appeal, they will seek a tougher sentence for Pistorius at the Supreme Court of Appeal.

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

Masipa initially accepted his argument that he mistook her for a burglar, and sentenced him to five years for manslaughter.

But the Supreme Court of Appeal overturned her verdict and found Pistorius guilty of murder, forcing her to issue a new sentence.

Masipa may immediately decide whether to grant prosecutors permission to appeal, or delay her decision by several days, Mfaku said.

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