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49 cellphones confiscated for shooting Oscar Pistorius pictures

49 cellphones were confiscated from South African police officers who had taken pictures of the famed Olympic athlete. Of the 49, four were 'official' phones and the rest were private cellphones.

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Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius stands during his bail hearing at the magistrate court in Pretoria, South Africa, Feb. 21. Pistorius is awaiting trial on a murder charge. 49 cellphones were confiscated from police officers who had used them to take pictures of Pistorius.

Themba Hadebe / AP / File

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Even police officers clamored to get photos of Oscar Pistorius on their cellphones after the famed Olympic athlete was arrested for the shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, South Africa's minister of police said in a written response to a question in parliament.

Police minister Nathi Mthethwa said 49 cellphones were confiscated from officers at Boschkop police station in Pretoria after they were used to take photographs of Pistorius when he was being transferred between court and the station soon after his arrest. Mthethwa made the revelation in a reply to parliament on Monday and it was seen by The AP on Tuesday.

"This action was necessary after it came to light that photos were taken of a high profile individual who had been arrested," Mthethwa wrote in the reply to a question by South Africa's opposition party, the Democratic Alliance.

The minister said four "official" cellphones and 45 private phones were taken from the officers on Feb. 20, six days after Pistorius' arrest. They could be used as evidence in possible disciplinary proceedings against the police officers, Mthethwa said. Mthethwa did not reveal how many officers had taken photos of Pistorius or how many — if any — are facing disciplinary action.

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