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Nike suspends contract with Oscar Pistorius

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published February 21, 2013 at 7:49 a.m. Updated February 21, 2013 at 8:05 a.m.

— Nike has suspended its contract with Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee runner from South Africa who is facing a charge of premeditated murder in the Valentine’s Day slaying of his girlfriend.

Pistorius, who became the first double-amputee runner to compete on the track at the Olympics at last year’s London Games, is accused of intentionally killing model Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius says he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder and that the shooting was accidental.

“We believe Oscar Pistorius should be afforded due process and we will continue to monitor the situation closely,” Nike said in a brief statement posted on its website Wednesday.

On Monday, eyewear maker Oakley suspended its contract with Pistorius.

Meanwhile, prosecutors reinstated attempted-murder charges against a policeman leading the murder investigation into Pistorius.

The announcement that detective Hilton Botha faces reinstated charges in connection with a 2011 shooting came a day after he testified for the prosecution in Pistorius’ bail hearing, and by all accounts bungled his appearance. He acknowledged Wednesday that nothing in Pistorius’ account of the fatal Valentine’s Day shooting of his girlfriend contradicted what police had discovered.

The spokesman for the nation’s prosecutors urged that Botha be removed from the Pistorius case.

Pistorius, an Olympian whose lower legs were amputated when he was less than a year old, claims he mistook girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder when he shot her in a locked bathroom in his home.

Bulewa Makeke, spokesman for South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority, acknowledged Thursday that the timing of the attempted-murder charges is “totally weird” but said Botha should be dropped from the case against the world-famous athlete. However, Makeke said, the charges against Botha were reinstated Feb. 4, before his testimony Wednesday and even before Steenkamp was killed. Police said they were notified Wednesday of the reinstated charges which stem from a 2011 shooting in which Botha and two other officers are accused of firing at a minibus.

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