KATHMANDU: Charles Sobhraj, a French national known as “the serpent” who authorities claim is responsible for a number of murders in the 1970s and 1980s, was ordered to be released by Nepal’s Supreme Court on Wednesday due to his advanced age.
In Asia, Sobhraj, 78, is charged with killing over 20 young Western tourists, most often by putting drugs in their food or drink. He had served 19 of the 20 years of his sentence.In the middle of the 1970s, Thailand issued an arrest notice for the man known as the “bikini killer” on suspicion that he had drugged and murdered six ladies in bikinis on a Pattaya beach.
He was also known as “the serpent” because of his skill at disguising himself after making his way out of an Indian prison in the middle of the 1980s, where he was serving a 21-year sentence for murder. Later, he was apprehended and imprisoned there until 1997.
After being freed from prison in India, Sobhraj went back to France. In 2003, he was captured in Kathmandu’s casino and accused with the murder of American traveller Connie Jo Bronzich. Since 2003, he has been detained in a jail with maximum security in Kathmandu.
Sobhraj will be released and deported from Nepal after serving 19 years in prison, according to an order from Supreme Court judges Sapana Pradhan Malla and Til Prasad Shrestha on Wednesday.
As per Bimal Paudel, a spokesman for the Supreme Court, “the court has ruled that he should be released and sent back to his country within 15 days if there is no other basis to detain him in jail.”
In Nepal, life sentences often carry a 20-year prison sentence.