Dutch suspect in Peru, Aruba murders to face questioning

21st June 2010, Comments 0 comments

The Dutch suspect in the killing of a US teenager on holiday in Aruba five years ago will go before a judge Monday to face questions about the killing of a young Peruvian woman in May.

Joran Van der Sloot, who confessed to killing 21-year-old Stephany Flores, found beaten to death in his Lima hotel room, has been held at the Miguel Castro Castro prison since June 11 after confessing to the crime.

His Peruvian lawyer Maximo Altez has told local media that Van der Sloot plans to avoid responding to the judge's questions in a bid to invalidate the police investigation.

Altez said his client would not speak to authorities until the court accepts a writ of habeas corpus for him to challenge his detention. The document was filed a week ago and requested a new police interrogation in the presence of a Altez, a prosecutor and a translator.

Police say their previous interrogation already took place under these circumstances.

In quotes released by Peruvian authorities, Van der Sloot, 22, said he was motivated to kill Flores after she used his laptop without his permission and saw information linking him to the Natalee Holloway case.

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.

"She had no right" to see the computer, he said, according to police. "I approached her, she was frightened. We discussed it and she tried to escape. I grabbed her by the neck and hit her."

Van der Sloot has long been a prime suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Holloway, who went missing after a night of drinking with him on the Caribbean island of Aruba.

The son of a prominent judge, Van der Sloot was twice arrested in connection with Holloway's disappearance and spent three months in jail but was never charged.

Foreign attorneys are expected to arrive in Lima in July to help Van der Sloot's defense. One of the lawyers is Joseph Tacopina, who defended the Dutchman in the Holloway case.

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

The court has also sought psychological and psychiatric evaluations of Van der Sloot.

Meanwhile, Van der Sloot's mother said in an interview with the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that her son suffers from psychological problems and was scheduled to receive treatment at a mental institution in May but instead departed for Peru.

"My son is sick in the head," the newspaper quoted Anita Van der Sloot as saying. She said he had called her days before Flores was killed, sounding "paranoid" and complaining that he was "being followed."

Van der Sloot has told Peruvian police that he knew where to find Holloway's body, and Peruvian officials said they would contact authorities in Aruba if new information were to surface.

"In the event that any evidences arises related to the death of the young American woman (Holloway), the court will assess this evidence and take the necessary measures to obtain proof" and share the information with Dutch authorities, Judge Carlos Morales said.

The Holloway case attracted huge media attention in the United States, the Caribbean and Europe, but was never solved.

Flores was killed on the same day -- May 30 -- of Holloway's disappearance five years ago in Aruba.

© 2010 AFP

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