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S.Africa's 'Blade Runner' seeks to ease bail terms

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Lawyers for South African Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius were on Thursday to contest the stringent bail terms imposed on him after killing his girlfriend on Valentine's Day.

Pistorius, 26, will challenge a raft of conditions, including strict travel restrictions, which he argues are unfair and unwarranted. The state is set to oppose the challenge.

The athlete is not expected to appear at the hearing in North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

After being freed on a one million rand ($108,000, 84,000 euros) bail last month, the sprint star was ordered to surrender his passport and told to inform a correctional officer if he has to travel outside Pretoria.

"This condition is inconsistent with the (magistrate) court's finding that the appellant is not a flight risk," his lawyers said in appeal papers seen by AFP.

The lawyers also object to the random mandatory alcohol and drug tests that are part of the bail conditions.

"The charge against the appellant has no relevance to substance and alcohol abuse," they said.

The athlete known as "Blade Runner" is also banned from returning to his upmarket gated home in Pretoria where he shot Reeva Steenkamp, claiming he mistook her for an intruder -- though the state is arguing the shooting was premeditated murder.

His lawyers want Pistorius to regain access to his home. They are also challenging a condition that says he can only have contact with three people on his housing estate.

"A blanket restriction on speaking to residents is unfair and will infringe the appellant's fair trial rights," they argue.

Pistorius "is entitled to consult with persons in the estate for purposes of his own defence," they added.

Pistorius, who became the first double amputee to compete against able-bodied athletes in last year's Olympic Games in London.

Pistorius's next court appearance is scheduled for June 4.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130328/safricas-blade-runner-seeks-ease-bail-terms-0