Oscar Pistorius
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Oscar Pistorius’ jail sentence to be appealed by prosecutors

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JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The South African prosecutors’ office said Thursday it will appeal against Oscar Pistorius‘ six-year jail sentence and seek a longer prison term for the double-amputee athlete, who was convicted of murder for shooting girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Calling the sentence given to Pistorius by a judge on July 6 “shockingly too lenient,” the National Prosecuting Authority announced it would file appeal papers on Thursday — the day of the deadline to appeal.

Pistorius was convicted of murder for shooting Steenkamp in his home in 2013, but only after an appeal by prosecutors. He was initially acquitted of the charge and found guilty of the lesser offense of manslaughter, and served one year in prison.

The latest decision to appeal by prosecutors prolongs the three-and-a-half legal case of Pistorius, a multiple Paralympic world champion and the first amputee athlete to run at the Olympics.

He shot Steenkamp multiple times through a toilet cubicle door in his home in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine’s Day 2013. Pistorius testified that he killed Steenkamp by mistake, thinking she was an intruder hiding in the bathroom. Prosecutors said he shot her intentionally after an argument.

“We respectfully submit that the sentence of six years imprisonment, in all the circumstances, is disproportionate to the crime of murder committed,” the prosecuting authority said in Thursday’s statement announcing its intention to appeal. “That is to say, shockingly too lenient, and has accordingly resulted in an injustice and has the potential to bring the administration of justice into disrepute.”

Prosecutors had sought 15 years in prison for the double-amputee Olympic athlete, the prescribed minimum sentence for murder in South Africa, but a judge said there were compelling circumstances in Pistorius’ case to give him a lesser sentence.

In South Africa, a judge can deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence if they find that there are exceptional circumstances.

Judge Thokozile Masipa decided on the six-year jail sentence for the 29-year-old Pistorius. She was also the judge who oversaw Pistorius’ 2014 trial and acquitted him of murder before that decision was successfully appealed by prosecutors in the Supreme Court.

In appealing the six-year sentence, prosecutors first have to get permission from Masipa to take another appeal to the Supreme Court. No date was given for the first hearing in the appeal.

Pistorius is currently serving his sentence in a prison in the South African capital, Pretoria. Under South African law, he could be eligible for parole after serving half his sentence, or three years.

MORE: Pistorius timeline since London Olympics

2020 French Open women’s singles draw, results

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If Serena Williams is to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at the French Open, she may have to go through her older sister in the fourth round.

Williams, the sixth seed, could play Venus Williams in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, which begins Sunday.

Serena opens against countrywoman Kristie Ahn, whom she beat in the first round at the U.S. Open. Serena could then get her U.S. Open quarterfinal opponent, fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, in the second round.

If Venus is to reach the fourth round, she must potentially get past U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Azarenka beat Serena in the U.S. Open semifinals, ending the American’s latest bid to tie Margaret Court‘s major titles record.

Venus lost in the French Open first round the last two years.

The French Open top seed is 2018 champion Simona Halep, who could play 2019 semifinalist Amanda Anisimova in the third round.

Coco Gauff, the rising 16-year-old American, gets 2019 semifinalist Jo Konta of Great Britain in the first round in the same quarter of the draw as Halep.

The field lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.

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2020 French Open men’s singles draw, results

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Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.

Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.

Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.

Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.

The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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