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THE AMERICAS

Several hurdles left to clear before US case begins against convicted murderer Joran van der Sloot

 

Joran van der Sloot may eventually face trial in the US on fraud and extortion charges, but there are still a number of hurdles to clear before the 24-year-old Dutchman serves any time in a US jail.

Van der Sloot was the last person to be seen with Alabama native Natalee Holloway on the island of Aruba in 2005. Holloway was on a class trip celebrating her high school graduation. Van der Sloot was arrested, but never charged with her murder. No body has been recovered and Holloway’s father went to court to have her declared legally dead last year.

Five years to the day after the disappearance of Holloway, van der Sloot was captured by security cameras in Lima, Peru, entering a hotel room with a 21-year-old Peruvian student, Stephany Flores. Flores was later found murdered in the hotel room. Van der Sloot was convicted and sentenced to 28 years in a maximum-security prison in the Andes.

In 2010, van der Sloot was indicted by an Alabama court for wire fraud and extortion. He had offered information to the Holloway family regarding the location of Natalee’s body in exchange for money. He received $25,000, but offered no information.

Van der Sloot used the $25,000 to go to Peru, where he entered a poker tournament and met Flores, who he then murdered in his hotel room.

He is currently appealing his murder conviction in Peru. Only after the appeal is decided will possible extradition to the US be considered. In Peru the request would go first to the Supreme Court, then to the Council of Ministers for a final decision.

If extradition for the wire fraud charges were approved, van der Sloot could face trial in Alabama. Peruvian officials say he would then be returned to Peru to continue serving out his murder sentence. He could serve time in a US jail, according to Peru’s Justice Minister, only after he completed serving his sentence in Peru.

Steve Harrigan currently serves as a Miami-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 2001 as a Moscow-based correspondent.