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 / Updated  / Source: Reuters

PRETORIA, South Africa — Prosecutors appealed on Tuesday against the culpable homicide verdict and five-year prison term imposed on Olympian Oscar Pistorius for killing his girlfriend, saying it was "shockingly inappropriate."

The sprinter maintained throughout his seven-month trial that he shot Reeva Steenkamp on Feb. 14, 2013, by mistake, thinking she was an intruder hiding behind the bathroom door in his house.

The prosecution failed to convince High Court Judge Thokozile Masipa of Pistorius' intent to kill when he fired at his girlfriend, leading to his conviction in October for negligent killing — culpable homicide — and a five-year jail term.

"Based on all the evidence, perhaps the element of mercy was over-exaggerated," state prosecutor Gerrie Nel argued before Masipa.

Pistorius, who was not in court on Tuesday, and his legal team are opposing the appeal. In South African law, the judge who handed down a verdict decides on whether the judgment can be appealed.

IN-DEPTH

- Reuters