The only suspect in the disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway, Joran van der Sloot, was sentenced Friday to 28 years in prison for murder in Peru. But what about efforts to extradite him to the United States?
A judge in Peru today sentenced Van der Sloot for killing a Peruvian woman in 2010, Reuters reports. The murder of Stephany Flores took place five years to the day after Natalee Holloway went missing in Aruba.
Aside from his murder trial in Peru, Joran van der Sloot faces federal extortion charges in the United States. But it's not clear when van der Sloot will face justice in a U.S. courtroom, if ever.
Joran van der Sloot, 24, is charged with extorting $25,000 from Natalee Holloway's mother. The Dutch citizen allegedly promised to reveal the location of Holloway's body after receiving the money, but he never did, according to Birmingham, Ala.'s WBRC-TV.
Van der Sloot's sentence could affect his extradition to the United States. The United States' extradition treaty with Peru, signed in 1901, lists specific crimes for which a person may be extradited, a legal scholar tells WBRC. Extortion is not on the list.
"We're really at the mercy of the Peruvian government," former federal Judge John Carroll, dean of Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, told WBRC. "I think the problem is the Peruvian government, who has custody of him, will say, 'Look, come talk to us after his sentence is over.'"
Van der Sloot may not serve his entire 28-year-sentence, because Peru often releases prisoners for good behavior after they serve just one-third of their term, Reuters reports. In van der Sloot's case, that could be less than 10 years.
Whenever Joran van der Sloot's sentence ends, federal prosecutors in Alabama say they're ready to extradite him. "Of course we want him here to face charges," a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office told The Birmingham News. "But right now, we don't exactly know when that will be."
- Joran Van Der Sloot Gets 28 Years in Peru, Now U.S. Wants Him (ABC News)
- Natalee Holloway Declared Legally Dead by Judge (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Extradition (FindLaw)
- US Code - Chapter 41: Extortion and Threats (FindLaw)