Joran Van Der Sloot -- previously linked to the disappearance of U.S. teen Natalee Holloway -- could be released by Christmas from the Peruvian prison where he is being held over the murder of a local woman.
The lawyer representing the family of 21-year-old Stephany Flores told the El Comercio newspaper Wednesday that by December, the 23-year-old Dutchman will have spent 18 months awaiting trial in Lima's Castro Castro jail -- the maximum allowed by the authorities in Perú.
Van Der Sloot would then be eligible for conditional release until a date is fixed for court proceedings, Edward Alvarez warned. He blamed Perú's justice authorities for proceeding too slowly with the case, taking aim at the senior prosecutor, Miriam Riveros Castellares, in particular.
"It's just irresponsible. She's amassed all the files and is not taking into account the time ... No one can be detained more than 18 months without trial. She is definitely not up to the job. This case seems to matter very little to her," Alvarez said.
Van Der Sloot is accused of robbing and murdering Flores, who was found dead in his Lima hotel room in May 2010. He was arrested after fleeing over the border to Chile.
Van Der Sloot was previously arrested twice, and held in custody for three months but never charged, in connection with the Natalee Holloway case. However, he remains the chief suspect in the disappearance of the 18-year-old Alabama student during a high school graduation trip to the Caribbean holiday island of Aruba in 2005.
A grand jury in Alabama indicted Van Der Sloot last June for wire fraud and extortion after he allegedly asked Holloway's mother for $250,000 to tell her where to find her missing daughter's remains, which were never found.
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