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Van der Sloot Sues Initial Lawyer in Peru Murder

Joran van der Sloot has sued the lawyer who represented him during a police interrogation on the day that authorities say the Dutchman confessed to killing a Peruvian woman, his current attorney said Saturday.

Maximo Altez told The Associated Press he filed suit Friday charging attorney Luz Romero Chinchay with misrepresentation, abuse of authority and conspiracy to commit a crime. Altez said the initial lawyer "pretended to be a public advocate when she is actually a private attorney."

"We have searched the name of Luz Romero Chinchay in the list of public defenders provided by the Ministry of Justice and her name was not on that list. We do not know why the police called this lawyer. We want to know who paid for her because my client did not," Altez said.

Under Peruvian law, a crime suspect who does not have private counsel is provided with a public defender who works for the Ministry of Justice.

Altez said he also has filed suit charging the same offenses against Col. Miguel Canlla, chief of the police homicide squad, who led the interrogation of Van der Sloot.

Neither Romero Chinchay nor Canlla could be reached for comment.

A motion by Van der Sloot seeking to throw out his confession was dismissed June 25. Van der Sloot recanted the confession in a jailhouse interview with the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, claiming it was made under duress.

On the night of June 7, police announced that Van der Sloot had confessed to the murder of Stephany Flores on May 30 in his Lima hotel room. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 to 35 years in prison.

Van der Sloot also remains the sole suspect in the unresolved 2005 disappearance of U.S. teen Natalee Holloway on the Caribbean island of Aruba.

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