Suspect in Natalee Holloway disappearance case severely beaten in Peru prison

Dutch national Joran Van der Sloot, seen here in a file photo dated 6 January 2012, during his preliminary hearing in court in the Lurigancho prison in Lima (AFP via Getty Images)
Dutch national Joran Van der Sloot, seen here in a file photo dated 6 January 2012, during his preliminary hearing in court in the Lurigancho prison in Lima (AFP via Getty Images)
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Joran van der Sloot, a convicted killer and the prime suspect in the Natalee Holloway case, has been attacked in the Peruvian prison where he is currently being held, his lawyer said.

Van der Sloot is the prime suspect in the 2005 disappearance of the American teenager and is awaiting extradition to the US.

His lawyer Maximo Altez told ABC News on Monday that the Dutch man is in the medical wing of a Peruvian prison after he was beaten. He said the beating was not related to the upcoming extradition.

Mr Altez claimed the beating might have been connected to gang rules inside the Challapalca Prison in Peru.

The 35-year-old Dutch national is currently serving a 28-year-long prison sentence for the 2010 murder of Stephany Flores in Lima and is the prime suspect in the disappearance of teenager Natalee Holloway.

Van der Sloot once claimed he shoved Holloway so hard to the ground that she hit her head on a rock and died, according to court papers.

Holloway had disappeared on the Caribbean island of Aruba in 2005 during a trip to celebrate her high school graduation. A judge declared her legally dead in 2012.

“Van der Sloot went on to admit that he had been with Natalee on the night of May 29/30, 2005, and that he had thrown her to the ground after she had attempted to stop him from leaving her,” stated a federal affidavit cited by Fox News.

“Van der Sloot claimed that when she fell down, she hit her head on a rock and died as a result of the impact.”

Federal prosecutors said Van der Sloot claimed his father had helped him hide the body, but when he took the lawyer to the alleged location, there was no sign of Holloway.

After the lawyer left the island, Van der Sloot allegedly told him that he had lied about the location.

Van der Sloot was indicted on extortion and wire fraud charges in federal court in Alabama in 2010 in connection with a scheme to get money from her family in return for the location of her body.

But the same year, he was also convicted of murdering a 21-year-old student Flores after meeting her at her father’s casino in Lima, Peru.

Van der Sloot will temporarily be sent to the US to go on trial for the extortion charges before being sent back to Peru. If convicted in Alabama, he would return to the US in 2038 to serve an 40 additional years in a US prison.

“I was blessed to have had Natalee in my life for 18 years, and as of this month, I have been without her for exactly 18 years. She would be 36 years old now,” the teen’s mother, Beth Holloway, said earlier this month in a statement.

“It has been a very long and painful journey, but the persistence of many is going to pay off. Together, we are finally getting justice for Natalee.”