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UPDATE: 8: 19 p.m. -- The process to extradite Joran van der Sloot from Peru to the United States has begun, CNN reports. Documents obtained by Maximo Altez, van der Sloot's attorney, show a judge has approved the U.S. request for a provisional detention, the first step in sending him to America to face charges for extorting money from the mother of missing teen Natalee Holloway.
Joran van der Sloot, the convicted killer of a young Peruvian woman and the prime suspect in the disappearance of missing American teen Natalee Holloway, could soon be extradited to the United States.
Van der Sloot's attorney, Maximo Altez, has confirmed Peruvian authorities are evaluating a request by the U.S. to extradite the Dutchman for extorting Holloway's mother.
Altez said his client is afraid of extradition because U.S. prisons have a reputation for being "very hard" on inmates, according to the Associated Press.
The Peruvian business student was found stabbed to death in van der Sloot's Lima hotel room on June 2, 2010. Police in Peru say Flores, 21, was killed on May 30, the five-year anniversary of the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, an 18-year-old from Mountain Brook, Ala., who vanished while on a class trip to Aruba. She was last seen leaving an Oranjestad nightclub with van der Sloot, then a 17-year-old Dutch honors student living in Aruba.
Holloway's body has never been found, and van der Sloot has not been charged in her disappearance. He was, however, indicted in the U.S. on charges that he extorted $25,000 from the young woman's parents. Prosecutors said that in exchange for the money, he promised to reveal how Holloway died and the location of her body.
Van der Sloot would probably face a five- to 10-year sentence for the alleged extortion.
The most recent developments were predicted months ago by Michael Griffith, senior partner at theInternational Legal Defense Counsel. In a previous interview with The Huffington Post, Griffith, whose most renowned case, involving an American incarcerated in a Turkish prison, was the basis for the film and book "Midnight Express." said he expected van der Sloot to be extradited. However, Griffith said the move would likely be a ploy so the U.S. could get him in their grips for Holloway’s alleged murder -- something that could earn him a life sentence.
"The key to that is that the U.S. has jurisdiction over anybody, anywhere in the world, who kills or injures a U.S. citizen. It kind of originated with the Leon Klinghoffer case," said Griffith.
In 1985, Klinghoffer, 69, and his wife were celebrating their 36th wedding anniversary on the cruise ship Achille Lauro. Palestinian terrorists hijacked the liner, and Klinghoffer was murdered and thrown overboard. The hijackers were later given safe passage on a flight to Tunisia, but the U.S. Air Force intercepted the plane and forced it to land in Italy, where the suspects were taken into custody.
That principle, which has been used in limited cases, is being used more often today and could be applied to the Holloway case. Van der Sloot's alleged statements, along with his previous confessions in the case, are enough for U.S. authorities to make a circumstantial murder case against him, Griffith said.
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Joran van der Sloot attends the continuation of his murder trial at San Pedro prison in Lima, Peru, on Jan. 11, 2012. Van der Sloot pleaded guilty on Wednesday to the 2010 murder of a 21-year-old Peruvian woman he met at a Lima casino who was killed five years to the day of the unsolved disappearance in Aruba of an American teen in which he remains the main suspect. (Karel Navarro, AP)
Whether or not van der Sloot is charged with murder in the U.S. is yet to be seen. However, Max Altez, the attorney who briefly represented van der Sloot after his arrest in the Flores case, said he expects authorities in Peru to agree to the extradition. He also expects his former client to be found guilty of extortion.