Prime suspect in Aruba disappearance fights extradition
LIMA, Peru, Friday May 11, 2012 – Convicted killer Joran van der Sloot said on Tuesday that he will fight extradition from Peru to the United States where he faces extortion and wire fraud charges in connection with the disappearance of American Natalee Holloway in Aruba.
Dutch-born, Aruba-raised Van der Sloot remains the prime suspect in the unsolved 2005 disappearance of Holloway in Aruba. He faces an indictment in the United States for allegedly taking US$25,000 in 2010 in exchange for a broken promise to lead her mother's lawyer to the body.
Van der Sloot is currently imprisoned in Peru, serving time for murder. He was sentenced in January after confessing to beating and strangling 21-year-old Stephany Flores in his Lima hotel room.
He killed Flores five years to the day after Holloway disappeared in Aruba, the Dutch dependency where he grew up.
This week, Judge Zenaida Vilca informed Van der Sloot of the US extradition request during a closed door meeting at Piedras Gordas prison just north of Lima. The 24-year-old Dutchman told the judge he would fight extradition, his lawyer Maximo Altez, said.
If he remains behind bars in Peru, Van der Sloot could be released on parole after serving a third of his 28-year sentence for killing Flores, a Lima woman he met at a casino in May 2010, said Altez.
If he were convicted in the US, however, he would be unlikely to qualify for early parole in Peru. Under the US-Peru extradition treaty he would be returned to Peru to finish his sentence. Then he would be sent to the US to serve the second sentence there.
"It's not good for us if Van der Sloot goes to the United States because everyone hates him there and the members of the jury will thus be biased," said Altez. "We will defend ourselves with all the legal remedies possible."
Reporters witnessed Van der Sloot entering a room for the hearing, which was also attended by representatives of the US and Dutch embassies.
The Dutchman reportedly smiled at the agents who accompanied him, but did not respond to the media.
If Peru's Supreme Court approves the extradition request, it will then need to be approved by the country's council of ministers.