First hearing Van der Sloot-trial next week Monday in Lima

POSTED: 09/2/11 11:33 PM

ORANJESTAD/LIMA – The first public hearing in the criminal trial of Joran van der Sloot will take place next week Monday, September 12. The Public Prosecutor’s Office in Lima demands a 30-year prison term against the young Dutchman for the murder of 21-year old Stephanie Flores.
The hearing is not the start of the actual trial. Judge Maria Poma Valdivieso presides over the hearing whereby all parties will be present. The trial date will be set after the hearing. The attorney for the Flores-family, Edward Alvarez expects the trial to start in October.
Two weeks ago Alvarez announced that Van der Sloot could possibly be released if the Peruvian prosecutor’s office kept dragging its feet. In December of this year he will have been detained for 18 months; that is the maximum allowed under Peruvian law.
After Alvarez pointed this out, the court urged the prosecutor’s office to get on with the case. The court said that Judge Valdivieso organized the hearing immediately after the prosecutor’s office filed the formal complaint last week.
The prosecution also demands that Van der Sloot pays 131,000 florin in damages, though it is unclear who the recipient of this money would be.
Stephanie Flores was found dead in a hotel room in Lima on May 30 of last year. The hotel room was booked in Van der Sloot’s name. Shortly afterwards, the Dutchman was arrested in Chile, and he was sent back to Peru.
Van der Sloot initially confessed to the crime, but he attempted to withdraw his statements a few days later, claiming that there had not been a qualified interpreter present to translate from Spanish to Dutch. He also claimed that the police had intimidated him.
A couple of weeks later a judge dismissed these arguments and ruled that the police had obtained the confession lawfully. Three weeks ago Van der Sloot’s attorney Jose Jimenez said that his client considered confessing to the crime, but that this would depend on the charges.
Van der Sloot remains the main suspect in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway on May 30 in Aruba. He committed the Flores-murder exactly five years after Holloway’s disappearance.

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