Convicted murderer Joran van der Sloot is one step closer to being extradited to the United States to face criminal charges related to the Natalee Holloway case, his Peruvian lawyer said.
"I think he will be extradited within the next three months," Joran van der Sloot's attorney Maximo Altez told CNN.
A judge in Peru approved a U.S. government request for van der Sloot's "provisional detention" -- the first step in the international extradition process, CNN reports. Now the ball is back in the United States' court, so to speak.
Following Peru's "provisional detention" approval, the United States now has 60 days to submit a formal extradition request and supporting documents to Peru, according to the extradition treaty signed by the two countries in 2001.
If the United States fails to submit the formal request within 60 days, Joran van der Sloot could be "discharged" from detention for extradition. But that won't prevent the U.S. from trying to extradite him again, according to the treaty.
Joran van der Sloot was the only suspect in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, an Alabama teenager who went missing in Aruba in 2005.
Van der Sloot was never charged in Holloway's case. But he was convicted in January of killing a Peruvian woman in 2010, and was sentenced to 28 years in prison.
In the United States, van der Sloot faces federal extortion charges for allegedly promising to reveal the location of Holloway's body to her distraught mother. Holloway's mom paid van der Sloot $25,000, but he never followed through on his promise, prosecutors allege.
Though van der Sloot is currently serving his Peruvian prison sentence, the U.S.-Peru treaty allows a person to be extradited "exclusively for the purpose of prosecution."
"He will go to trial in the United States," Joran van der Sloot's lawyer told CNN about his client's extradition. "Once he is sentenced, he will return to Peru to finish serving his 28 years, and then go back to the States to serve whatever sentence he gets there."
- Joran van der Sloot may be extradited to United States: report (New York Daily News)
- Natalee Holloway Declared Legally Dead by Judge (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Van der Sloot Sentence May Affect Extradition (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Extradition (FindLaw)