June 1, 2013 / 5:57 PM / 4 years ago

Convicted murderer Sloot eyes Peru marriage for 'love,' says lawyer

LIMA, June 1 (Reuters) - Jailed murderer Joran van der Sloot plans to wed his Peruvian girlfriend for love, not to avoid extradition to the United States in connection with the disappearance of an Alabama teenager, his lawyer said on Saturday.

Van der Sloot, a 25-year-old Dutch citizen, is serving 28 years in prison for killing Peruvian business student Stephany Flores, 21, in 2010 after meeting her playing poker in a Lima casino.

When his term ends, he is also slated to be sent to the United States to face charges of extortion stemming from the unsolved disappearance of U.S. citizen Natalee Holloway on the Dutch Caribbean island Aruba in 2005.

"He is getting married for the simple reason that he is in love and wants to formalize it," his lawyer Max Altez said.

Altez denied speculation the marriage was part of a gambit to help Sloot win permanent residency or citizenship in Peru and thus avoid extradition to the United States when his current jail term ends.

"No, one thing is not related to the other," Altez said.

Altez said the marriage could be held within the next few weeks if Van der Sloot's grandmother sends him his birth certificate and if Peruvian authorities grant him a marriage license.

His Peruvian girlfriend is Leydi Figueroa Uceda, who has visited Van der Sloot in jail, Altez said.

Van der Sloot could spend less than a decade behind bars in Peru as the country often frees prisoners for good behavior after serving a third of their terms.

Prosecutors say Van der Sloot, who was arrested but never charged for the disappearance, tried to get thousands of dollars in cash from Holloway's family in exchange for information on the whereabouts of her body. (Reporting by Terry Wade; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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