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Peru to extradite suspect in Alabama teen murder case within days, Interpol says

FILE PHOTO: Dutch citizen Joran Van der Sloot (C) enters the courtroom in the Lurigancho prison in Lima January 6, 2012. Van der Sloot went on trial on Friday for killing Stephany Flores in 2010, five years to the day after a U.S. teenager vanished on the island of Aruba after spending time with him. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

A convicted killer imprisoned in Peru will be extradited within days to the U.S., where he faces extortion and fraud charges related to the disappearance and murder of an Alabama teenager nearly two decades ago, Interpol's local head said on Monday.

The extradition is the latest twist in the mystery surrounding the fate of Natalee Holloway, an 18-year-old from suburban Birmingham who vanished during a high school graduation trip to the Caribbean island of Aruba in May 2005.

The disappearance prompted an exhaustive investigation and intense media attention.

FILE PHOTO: Dutch citizen Joran Van der Sloot waits for his trial to begin at the courtroom in the Lurigancho prison in Lima January 11, 2012. Van der Sloot, who was arrested but never charged in the 2005 disappearance of 18-year-old Alabama native Natalee Holloway on the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba, has told police he killed 21-year-old business student Stephany Flores after meeting her in a casino in Lima. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

"It will be by air and it will possibly take place on Thursday," Carlos Lopez, head of the Interpol Lima office, told Reuters in an interview, referring to the extradition of Joran Van der Sloot, who is currently in a maximum security prison in Lima.

A decade ago Van der Sloot, a Dutch citizen, was sentenced to 28 years in prison in Peru after he confessed to strangling, beating and suffocating a 21-year-old Peruvian business student.

Van der Sloot's lawyer, Maximo Altez, said he was filing an appeal on Monday seeking to stop the extradition, arguing that authorities have not respected due process.

FILE PHOTO: Beth Holloway, whose daughter Natalee disappeared in 2005 in Aruba, speaks at the launch of the Natalee Holloway Resource Center (NHRC), a non-profit resource center created to assist the families of missing persons founded by Holloway and the National Museum of Crime & Punishment, in Washington June 8, 2010. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Altez said Van der Sloot had accepted the extradition "in his desperation to get out of prison," adding there was a "media lynching" against him in the United States.

The Dutch Embassy will present a complaint to Peru's foreign ministry, the lawyer said. Embassy representatives did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Van der Sloot, a Dutch national from Aruba, was arrested in relation to Holloway's disappearance but never charged with her alleged abduction. The teen's remains have never been found, but an Alabama judge declared her legally dead in January 2012.

Peru's Council of Ministers issued an executive order last month allowing the temporary extradition of Van der Sloot.

He will face extortion and wire fraud charges "as part of a scheme to supposedly lead the (Holloway family) to the body of their deceased daughter," a statement from Peru's authorities said when the extradition was confirmed.

Interpol's Lopez said an aircraft from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation will land in Lima on Thursday morning for the extradition.

(Reporting by Anthony Marina; Writing by Marco Aquino and Valentine HilaireEditing by Marguerita Choy and Leslie Adler)

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