Travel restrictions on Pistorius lifted

Cape Town, March 29 (IANS) The Pretoria High Court lifted travel restrictions on paralympian Oscar Pistorius, allowing him to take part in international competitions on certain conditions.

Soon after the decision was made Thursday, Pistorius’ agent Peet van Zyl said the double amputee may target championships in sports tournaments, the world championships in Moscow in August in particular, reports Xinhua.

Judge Bert Bam said the paralympian would be allowed to use his passport to travel outside the country on conditions that his passport will be held by a court while he is in South Africa, and he can only leave the country if he provides an itinerary of his travel plans at least a week before he is due to leave.

On returning home, Pistorius must hand his travel documents back to the court within 24 hours.

Pistorius is charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp Feb 14, Valentine’s Day. But Pistorius says he shot Steenkamp because he mistook her for a burglar. He was released on bail after almost one week in police lockup and his next court appearance is scheduled for June 4.

Although Pistorius’s lawyers said in the appeal hearing that he had no immediate plans to compete in international tournaments, Zyl said in remarks published by the local media Sports24 that the judge’s decision definitely paved the way for Pistorius to take part in international competitions.

But Zyl said any return to competition would be up to Pistorius, who hasn’t run competitively since September or trained for two months.

“I have not discussed it (participating in races) with him yet, and would not be able to say if he would. He has not trained yet, and when a man hasn’t trained for such a long time he cannot just start racing again.”

Prosecutors had opposed the relaxing of Pistorius’ bail restrictions.

“As the prosecution, we are not going to make any comment in as far as the judgment is concerned,” National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Medupe Simasiku said. “Our focus is on the upcoming trial and we need to focus on that with all our minds.

“The investigation is going well and we believe that soon it will be completed. And when it is completed, that is when we’ll know about the trial date,” he said.

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