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Joran van der Sloot Files Lawsuit Against Chile Over Extradition

CNN

12:30 AM EST, December 1, 2011

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LIMA, PERU -- The Dutch man suspected in the 2005 disappearance of Natalee Holloway has sued the Chilean government for more than $13 million, alleging his human rights were violated when Chile extradited him last year to Peru to face charges in the death of a Peruvian woman.

"The lawsuit is against the Chilean government, for having violated Joran van der Sloot's basic human rights," his Peruvian lawyer Aldo Cotrina told In Session. The suit was filed September 4 with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington.

"Maybe they won't accept my analysis in Peru, because they feel this is the way things have always been done," said Cotrina, who is based in New York. "But I believe there are universal human rights and we have to respect those rights. We can't say that because someone is accused of killing a person, you can violate all their rights."

Cotrina said van der Sloot's former attorney, Maximo Altez, contacted him in July 2010 about the complaint, and the two men met the following month to begin researching grounds for the lawsuit on the basis of their claim that van der Sloot's human rights had been violated in June 2010, when Chile expelled him to Peru.

Cotrina said he expects to complete next week a similar document, to be filed against the government of Peru.

Van der Sloot, 24, faces a trial on murder and robbery charges that is set to begin January 6 in Peru.

He is accused of killing 21-year-old Stephany Flores in his Lima hotel room last year. Police say he took money and bank cards from her wallet and fled to Chile, where he was arrested a few days later.

The 13-page lawsuit says an international arrest warrant had not been filed against van der Sloot, but he was arrested by Chilean authorities anyway.

But documents from Peru's Ministry of Interior indicate that the Peruvian police had requested his arrest; Interpol authorities in Chile and Peru were contacted, as was Chile's Ministry of Interior.

The lawsuit further alleges that van der Sloot was not given enough time to appeal his expulsion from Chile, and that that failure was a violation of his basic human rights.

But correspondence between Chile's Ministry of Interior and Peru's Ministry of Interior indicates that officials from both ministries considered that van der Sloot's expulsion was legal under the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) treaty, which allows for international cooperation in matters of criminal activity. The documents were obtained by In Session on TruTV, which is a sister network to CNN.

The resolution to expel van der Sloot from Chile, which was approved by the Chilean government, cites a police report as having been filed on May 13, 2010. Van der Sloot's lawyer points out that his client did not even enter Chile until May 31. The lawsuit refers to the apparent typo as evidence that Chilean and Peruvian officials were violating the Dutch man's rights.

The lawsuit adds that Chilean police did not give van der Sloot the opportunity to call or use a computer to contact relatives, did not give him legal representation and did not give him a translator -- all putative violations of his rights.

Interpol documents obtained by In Session indicate that van der Sloot voluntarily gave a statement in English to Chilean police in which he said that he and Flores had been attacked in Lima and that he fled fearing for his life.

Van der Sloot was once the prime suspect in the disappearance of Holloway, the Alabama teenager who vanished in May 2005 while on a graduation trip to the Caribbean island of Aruba. He was arrested twice but never charged in connection with Holloway's disappearance, which remains unsolved.

He also faces extradition charges to the United States. In June 2010, a federal grand jury in Alabama indicted van der Sloot on charges of wire fraud and extortion after allegations surfaced that he tried to extort $250,000 from Holloway's mother. He was given $25,000, and authorities believe he used that money to travel to Peru and participate in a poker tournament, where he met Flores.