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Nov 18, 1:25 PM EST

Pistorius lawyers ask judge to reject state appeal


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STELLENBOSCH, South Africa (AP) -- Oscar Pistorius' lawyers have filed court papers asking a judge to reject prosecutors' attempts to take the athlete's case to South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal.

Pistorius' lawyers say that Judge Thokozile Masipa should not grant prosecutors permission to challenge her decision to acquit Pistorius of murder for shooting girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp through a toilet cubicle door. Masipa instead found the double-amputee Olympic athlete guilty of a lesser charge of manslaughter and sentenced him to five years in prison.

Prosecutors want to appeal that verdict, saying Masipa made an error in her interpretation of the law. They said they also want to appeal the sentence, calling it "shockingly light."

Pistorius, who turns 28 this weekend, could be released from jail to go under house arrest after 10 months in prison. He is currently serving his sentence at a prison in the South African capital, Pretoria.

If on the appeal Pistorius is convicted of murder, he would face a minimum of 15 years in prison.

The prosecution filed its initial appeal papers earlier this month. They must first ask Masipa for permission to take the case to the Supreme Court of Appeal and a hearing with Masipa is scheduled for Dec. 9.

In their response, which was filed Monday according to a court stamp, Pistorius' defense lawyers said prosecutors' arguments are flawed and Masipa had "correctly applied" the law in Pistorius' murder trial.

The multiple Paralympic champion's lawyers also noted that the parents of his slain girlfriend, Barry and June Steenkamp, "expressed their satisfaction with the sentence."

"The correct approach is to ... strike the matter from the roll," Pistorius' lawyers wrote, asking Masipa to dismiss the appeal.

Prosecutors want to appeal a third decision by Masipa, where she found Pistorius not guilty of illegal possession of ammunition for bullets found in his home for which he didn't have a license.

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