Interrogate Joran or release him, lawyer says

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Dutchman Joran van der Sloot, who is in a Peruvian jail on murder charges, should be set free until he is put on trial. Mr Van der Sloot's lawyer, Máximo Altez, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide that there have been too many errors in the run-up to the trial.

Joran van der Sloot has been in remand for nine months on suspicion of killing a Peruvian woman, Stephany Flores, who he had met in Lima in May 2010. He has not yet been heard by a judge, however, allegedly because there is no interpreter. Mr Altez said he is not confident that his client will be questioned within the statutory period of custody, which is limited to 18 months.

The lawyer is blaming Peru's legal authorities for not providing a Dutch-Spanish interpreter, saying it is not up to him to arrange one. The Dutch embassy told Mr Altez that they are not entitled to assign an interpreter to the case either.

Natalee Holloway Ricardo Flores, the father of the murdered woman, rejected the lawyer's demands. "The murderer has not said anything up to now, so how can he have the tenacity to demand to be released?"

Joran van der Sloot is also the main suspect in the Natalee Holloway disappearance case. The American teenager vanished without trace from the Caribbean island of Aruba in 2005, but Van der Sloot was never charged because of a lack of credible evidence.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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