Dutch murder suspect confession stands: Peru judge

26th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

A Peruvian judge has rejected a request by the Dutch suspect in last month's killing of a young woman to retract his murder confession.

The lawyer for Joran van der Sloot, 22, claimed that a statement his client made confessing to the crime was made under duress and should be invalidated because it allegedly infringed upon his constitutional rights.

But the Lima penal court ruled Friday that the request was "baseless."

Van der Sloot is currently being held at the at the maximum-security Miguel Castro Castro prison pending trial.

A longtime prime suspect in the 2005 disappearance of American teenager Natalee Holloway in Aruba, van der Sloot confessed earlier this month to killing 21-year-old Stephany Flores, who was found beaten to death in his Lima hotel room.

In an earlier interview with the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, van der Sloot said he signed papers admitting the crime only because police intimidated him and told him he would be extradited to the Netherlands if he confessed.

Police say their interrogation of van der Sloot was conducted in accordance with established standards, in the presence of a prosecutor and a government-appointed attorney.

The suspect met both women in casinos, and Flores was killed exactly five years after Holloway's disappearance, a case that has attracted huge attention in the United States, Europe and the Caribbean.

He has been charged with first-degree murder in the Flores case, along with aggravated robbery for allegedly taking more than 10,000 dollars of gambling money from Flores.

The investigation stage of the Flores case could last three to 12 months before moving to a public trial.

© 2010 AFP

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