Olympian and paralympian Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to six-year imprisonment for murdering his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in February 2013.
The North Gauteng High Court gave its verdict on Wednesday on the murder case, which has been running for three and a half years. Pistorius murdered 29-year-old Steenkamp in Pretoria at his home where she barricaded herself in the washroom to escape. Although the court’s verdict has come, six years’ imprisonment seems unsatisfactory to many. In fact, it is being considered as an “insult to women.”
African National Congress Women’s League spokesperson Jacqui Mofokeng identified the murder case as gender violence type, and hence, criticized the verdict delivered. According to her, the jail term was not even a fraction of the mandatory imprisonment span of 15 years. “The judgment is an insult to women,” Mofokeng said in a statement.
“It’s an insult we saw coming a mile off (and an) increasingly mundane insult to which we have all become accustomed. We owe Reeva Steenkamp and women everywhere our outrage today however subdued and demoralized we might feel. Because we know, deep down, that six years for murder isn’t just insulting. It’s dangerous.”
It was South African judge Thokozile Masipa who gave the verdict on the Valentine’s Day 2013 murder case. The judge said that “there is no indication at all” to prove the abusive relationship that the couple shared. However, she acknowledged the indication of issues in their relationship. The judge also led the original 2014 hearing where the sportsman was found guilty of manslaughter. At the hearing, the WhatsApp message exchange between Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp was produced as evidence. The texts were exchanged only a week prior to the death of the victim.
In a dialogue with USA Today, New York-based defense attorney Barry Slotnick said that the sentencing shows how lenient Masipa has been to the guilty, who the judge called a “fallen hero” on the latest hearing. “This is the same judge who felt Pistorius was guilty of manslaughter instead of murder,” Slotnick said. “Who he is played a role in his sentencing. While six years is a rather long time, that’s not a lot of time for a murder charge.”