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S.Africa police cell phones seized in Pistorius case

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

South African police have seized 49 mobile phones belonging to officers after they were used to photograph athlete Oscar Pistorius soon after his arrest for murder, the police ministry said Tuesday.

The phones -- four official and 45 private handsets -- were confiscated nearly a week after the Paralympian sprinter's arrest for the Valentine's Day killing of his girlfriend.

"These will form part of the evidence as part of possible South African police service internal disciplinary processes," police ministry spokesman Zweli Mnisi told AFP.

The cellphones were confiscated from officers at a Pretoria police station, where Pistorius was held after his arrest.

The confiscation was revealed in a written parliamentary reply by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa on Monday.

"This action was necessary after it came to light that photos were taken of a high profile individual who had been arrested whilst this individual was being transported between court and the police station," he said.

Mnisi confirmed that the unnamed individual was Pistorius.

The number of officers involved was not revealed.

This is the latest police blunder to hit the Pistorious case after it was revealed that the lead detective in the investigation, Hilton Botha, was also facing charges of attempted murder. He later quit the force.

Last month, double amputee Pistorius, who is known as the "Blade Runner", successfully challenged his strict bail conditions, notably easing travel restrictions imposed on him.

The runner claims that he shot Reeva Steenkamp through a locked bathroom door in the dead of the night, after having mistaken her for an intruder. He is facing a charge of pre-meditated murder.

Pistorius returns to court on June 4.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130416/safrica-police-cell-phones-seized-pistorius-case