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Judge Orders Man Extradited to Aruba in Holloway Case

ARNHEM, Netherlands (CNN) -- A district court judge in the Netherlands ordered Thursday that Joran van der Sloot be extradited to Aruba for questioning in the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway.

Van der Sloot was to leave as soon as possible, authorities said. He is one of three young men who have been re-arrested in the case. The men apparently were the last people to see Holloway alive after she left a bar in Aruba.

The judge was answering a request from a judge in Aruba, which is a Netherlands territory, and the extradition hearing was considered a formality.

A lawyer for van der Sloot said his client was bitterly surprised at the turn of events, because he felt he had left the incident behind him. The man has been attending college in the Netherlands.

Also Wednesday, Aruban authorities arrested brothers Deepak and Satish Kalpoe, now 24 and 21 respectively.

Prosecutors said the three arrests came because of "new material in the investigation."

No information was immediately available about what new evidence led to the arrests.

Hans Mos, Aruba's chief public prosecutor, said only that the evidence is "so important that we think we should have arrested these three guys, which we did yesterday."

All three men were arrested in 2005 but released because of insufficient evidence.

The Kalpoes were detained early in the investigation, and re-arrested August 26, 2005, on suspicion they acted "together with other people" in raping and killing the Alabama teen, according to the prosecutor's office at the time.

The men are now charged with "involvement in the voluntary manslaughter of Natalee Holloway or causing serious bodily harm to Natalee Holloway, resulting in her death," Aruban prosecutors said.

Holloway was on vacation in May 2005 with about 100 classmates celebrating their graduation from Mountain Brook High School near Birmingham, Alabama.

The group had planned to leave Aruba the next day, and Holloway's packed bags and passport were found in her hotel room after she failed to show up for her flight.

Van der Sloot and the Kalpoes were the last people seen with Holloway as she left Carlos'n Charlie's nightclub in Oranjestad, Aruba, about 1:30 a.m. on May 30, 2005. The men have maintained they had nothing to do with her disappearance. She has not been found.

The Kalpoes have told police they dropped Holloway and van der Sloot off near a lighthouse at a beach on the northern tip of the island after they left the nightclub.

Van der Sloot's mother has said her son told her he was on the beach with Holloway but left her there alone because she wanted to stay.

Aruban prosecutors said detectives from the Netherlands have been reviewing the Holloway case at the request of authorities in Aruba. The Dutch detectives were on the island as recently as last month to complete the investigation.

"Aruban police never stopped investigating this case, but we came to sort of a standstill in 2006, and we didn't see any more leads," Mos said, adding that new evidence arose after Aruban authorities asked Dutch police to help review the investigation.

Aruban police interrogated the Kalpoes on Wednesday, Aruban prosecutor Dop Kruimel said. They will appear before a judge Friday for a preliminary arrest hearing in which a judge will determine whether the arrests are legitimate, she said.

The judge can authorize their detention for eight more days, meaning police have that much time to produce evidence. The suspects then go before a judge again, she said.

CNN attempted to reach the Kalpoe family Wednesday but a person answering the phone at the Kalpoe household hung up.

This week's arrests, Aruban prosecutors said, "are in line with the public prosecutor's decision to ultimately decide on the prosecution of the suspects in this case by the end of 2007. This intention was recently disclosed to both brothers."

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Holloway's mother, Beth Holloway, said in a statement, "The family is always hopeful when a step in the right direction is made in the case."

Holloway declined to be interviewed, said spokeswoman Sunny Tillman.

On Wednesday, Natalee Holloway's father, Dave, shared his feelings on CNN Headline News' "Nancy Grace."

"They have looped off in different directions, but it's always come full circle back to them," he said. "Hopefully, with what they say that they have, this new evidence, maybe we'll finally get some answers."

Aruba's criminal justice system is based on Dutch law and the Napoleonic code, legal experts say. In Aruba, authorities can make an arrest if they have reasonable suspicion that someone knows about or is involved in a crime. Magistrates investigate cases and judges determine a suspect's guilt or innocence. There are no jury trials.


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