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A Just Sentence? Too Lenient? Oscar Pistorius Given 5 Years in Prison

Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius in court. May 5, 2014 by Ihsaan Haffejee. Demotix.

Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius in court. May 5, 2014 by Ihsaan Haffejee. Copyright Demotix.

Oscar Pistorius, the South African double-leg amputee runner who was found guilty of culpable homicide (manslaughter) after shooting his girlfriend last year, has been sentenced to five years in prison. He also received a suspended sentence of three years for a firearm offence.

Pistorius says he thought Reeva Steenkamp was an intruder trying to break into the house through the bathroom window. The state, according to Judge Thokozile Masipa, failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Pistorius intended to kill her.

The trial, the biggest social media event in South Africa, generated huge global interest and intense media scrutiny. His conviction came on the heels of a 77-year sentence handed down to a rhino poacher in July, shocking and angering many Twitter users.

Others thought the judge was too lenient, a clear indication of a broken justice system in South Africa:

Under South African law, he will be eligible for release after 8 months.

Stefanie Ship asked:

On Facebook, Thapelo Tips Seemise compared the sentence to the time that has passed since Steenkamp's killing:

It took 2years to get to a conclusion of 5years imprisonment!!! Justice is a myth in our country ‪#‎OscarTrial‬

Others, however, were in favour of the sentence:

Some reacted with a sense of humor:

Shrien Dewani is a British national accused of conspiring to have his wife Anni Dewani killed during their honeymoon in South Africa. His trial is underway in South Africa.

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