Peru court: Can extradite Van der Sloot after prison

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LIMA, Peru (AP) – U.S. prosecutors who want to try Joran van der
Sloot for extortion related to the 2005 disappearance of U.S. teen
Natalee Holloway will have to wait until he finishes serving a
murder sentence in Peru, this nation’s Supreme Court has ruled.
Van der Sloot’s lawyer, who was notified of the decision Friday,
said Monday that he expects his client will be made to serve at
least two-thirds of the 28-year sentence.
The court’s May 23 decision on extradition is not final,
however. Peru’s justice minister and Cabinet must endorse it, said
the lawyer, Maximo Altez.
Van der Sloot, 24, faces extortion and wire fraud charges in
Alabama in connection with Holloway’s unsolved disappearance in
Aruba exactly five years before he killed Peruvian college student
Stephany Flores after meeting her in a Lima casino.
He confessed to killing Flores and was sentenced in January,
just as Holloway’s parents had their daughter declared legally
dead.
The Dutchman, who was raised in Aruba, remains the prime suspect
in the Holloway disappearance on the Caribbean island, and the U.S.
charges stem from his alleged acceptance of $25,000 in early 2010
in exchange for an unfulfilled promise to lead her mother’s lawyer,
John Q. Kelly, to the body.
Federal prosecutors in Birmingham, Alabama, where Van der Sloot
is charged, declined to comment on the court’s decision. Kelly said
he had no immediate comment.
Altez told The Associated Press that the Supreme Court’s
decision follows a pattern in Peru. “There are various people in
the same situation and they will all be extradited when they finish
their sentences. There’s no reson Joran van der Sloot should be
different,” he said.
A copy of the decision obtained by the AP cites the U.S.-Peru
extradition treaty, first signed in 1899 and an additional 1990
agreement, as specifying that both parties may postpone extradition
until after a condemned criminal has finished serving his or her
sentence.
The decision cites three recent cases involving convicted
criminals wanted by Spain, Argentina and the United States as
precedents.
Van der Sloot is appealing his sentence, and the Supreme Court
said that if the appeal is successful he could be extradited
immediately thereafter. Altez said his client would resist that.
“At the end of the day, the decision on whether to extradite
Joran is political,” he said.
He contends Van der Sloot could not receive a fair trial in the
United States “because he’s been satanized by the press. He is
seen as a demon in the United States and would be judged by a jury
made up of common people who are influenced by the press and would
surely give him the maximum sentence.”
Van der Sloot is imprisoned in the Piedras Gordas prison just
north of Lima.
___
Associated Press writers Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Alabama, and
Frank Bajak in Bogota, Colombia, contributed to this report.