Van der Sloot pleads not guilty in Lima

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The murder trial of Dutchman Joran van der Sloot in the Peruvian capital Lima has been adjourned to Wednesday, 11 September. During the first hearing, the Dutch defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder followed by theft.

As a result of the adjournment, Mr Van der Sloot won’t have to plead guilty or not guilty to each separate count until next Wednesday. Observers say the move suggests the defence will seek to argue for manslaughter instead of murder.

Mr Van der Sloot is accused of murdering Stephany Flores in his Lima hotel room on 30 May 2010. The Public Prosecutor is expected to seek a 30-year prison term and a fine of 50,000 euros. If Mr Van der Sloot pleads guilty, the court has 48 hours to reach a verdict. If he pleads not guilty, the trial goes ahead.

Mr Van der Sloot has admitted killing Ms Flores in his Lima hotel room. But he claims he had acted on a violent impulse when he saw her read documents on his laptop relating to the disappearance of US teenager Natalee Holloway.

The 24-year-old Dutchman is the main suspect in the disappearance of Ms Holloway on the Caribbean island of Aruba in May 2005. He has never been charged due to lack of evidence. Ms Holloway was 18 when she went missing. Ms Flores was 21 when she was killed. cl

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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