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SA minister wants toughest sentence for Oscar Pistorius

Tuesday, 20 August 2013 - 7:19pm IST | Place: Pretoria | Agency: IANS
Pistorius was formally served with an indictment for girlfriend Steenkamp's death.

Murder-accused paralympian Oscar Pistorius must be punished with the toughest sentence, South Africa's Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana said.

"We are saying to the courts: we want to see the toughest sentences and we also want to make sure that the accused does not run away, that they finally face justice," Xingwana said on Monday as Pistorius re-appeared at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court to hear murder charges against him.

Pistorius's brief court reappearance coincided with the 30th birthday of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp whom he allegedly shot dead at his Pretoria home on Valentine's Day this year, reports Xinhua.

Xingwana was at the court, saying she was there to represent the Steenkamp family.

Pistorius was formally served with an indictment for Steenkamp's death.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel also announced Pistorius's trial date which is set for March 3 next year.

The National Prosecuting Authority has named 107 witnesses to assist with the trial.

Nel also said Pistorius's premeditated murder case has been transferred to the High Court in Pretoria.

Pistorius said he shot Steenkamp mistaking her for a burglar, but police do not support his accounts and argue a case of premeditated murder.

In addition to the murder charge, Pistorius reportedly faces two new charges—the first charge related to Pistorius firing his gun out of the sunroof of a friend's car while driving home from a holiday, and the second charge allegedly related to Pistorius accidentally firing from his friend's gun in a Johannesburg restaurant.

The athlete is currently out on 1-million-rand (about $100,000) bail.

Pistorius is known as the Blade Runner because of his carbon fibre prosthetic blades. He was the first double amputee to run in the Olympics. He reached the 400 metres semifinals at the London Olympics.

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