Joran van der Sloot wants to go to the U.S. to prove his innocence, lawyer says
Joran van der Sloot will not oppose his extradition from Peru to the United States, where he is suspected of extortion and fraud. Van der Sloot wants to travel there to have a chance to prove his innocence, said his lawyer in Peru, Maximo Altez, in an interview with ANP on Thursday.
It was announced on May 11 that the South American country agreed to temporarily extradite the 35-year-old Dutch man from Peru. He is currently serving a 28-year prison sentence for the 2010 murder of Peruvian woman Stephany Flores.
Five years earlier, American 18-year-old Natalee Holloway disappeared without a trace during a holiday with her friends in Aruba. She was last seen with Van der Sloot on the island in May 2005. He became the prime suspect in her disappearance, but his involvement has never been proven.
U.S. prosecutors have accused Van der Sloot of taking 25,000 dollars from Holloway’s mother in 2010. He allegedly took the money in exchange for providing information that would lead her to her daughter’s body, which was never found.
Altez admits that his client did take money, but he said he believes Van der Sloot was set up. He stated that he believes that Van der Sloot suffers from psychological problems, and that he was manipulated and abused in this situation. Altez called the news about Van der Sloot’s extradition a "smokescreen" being used to distract people from the economic and political problems Peru is currently experiencing.
Joran van der Sloot is now imprisoned in the very heavily guarded Challapalca prison, which is situated in the Andes Mountains at an altitude of 4,600. His lawyer said he expects Van der Sloot to be extradited within fifteen days. First he has to travel to the Peruvian capital Lima for a medical examination.
Van der Sloot will then be picked up by the U.S. Marshals Service, an American federal police agency. The only question, according to the lawyer, is whether Van der Sloot will travel to the United States on a specially-arranged flight, or on a scheduled passenger flight.
A 2001 treaty between Peru and the United States allows a suspect to be temporarily extradited for trial in another country. A lawyer from the state of Alabama, where Holloway was from, has been assigned to represent Van der Sloot. According to Altez,
Van der Sloot will stay in the United States for up to two years, and will then return to Peru to serve the remainder of his sentence. The lawyer emphasized that the Dutch suspect was extradited for two specific charges, and that American authorities cannot try to keep Van der Sloot longer by filing additional charges against him.
Reporting by ANP