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Court eases bail restrictions on Pistorius

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius can leave South Africa to compete in international track meets, a judge ruled on Thursday as he upheld the Olympic athlete's appeal against some of his bail restrictions.

Judge Bert Bam said Pistorius, who is charged with murder in the Valentine's Day shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, must travel under certain conditions. 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. Pistorius must also hand his travel documents back to the court within 24 hours of returning home.

The ruling in North Gauteng High Court opens the way for the Paralympic champion, who is facing a life sentence if found guilty of murder, to run in international competition again.

Although Pistorius' lawyers said in the appeal hearing that he had no immediate plans to compete, he would likely need to return to track in the future to earn money, they said. Pistorius himself, a double amputee widely known as the Blade Runner for his prosthetic legs, did not attend the court session.

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