Nepal’s Supreme Court orders release, deportation of French serial killer Charles Sobhraj
Nepal's Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the release of French serial killer Charles Sobhraj, who had been serving a life sentence in the Himalayan republic since 2003 on the charge of murdering two North American tourists — Connie Jo Bronzich and his Canadian companion Laurent Carrière — in 1975.
Sobhraj, 78, was released on health grounds. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court also ordered Sobhraj's deportation within 15 days of his release.
"Keeping him in the prison continuously is not in line with the prisoner's human rights. If there is not any other pending cases against him to keep him in the prison, this court orders his release by today and... the return to his country within 15 days,'' the top court's verdict on Wednesday read, reported news agency AFP. A bench of Justices Sapana Pradhan Malla and Tilak Prasad Shrestha ordered to free 78-year-old Sobhraj from jail.
Sobhraj was given nickname ‘the Bikini Killer’ after two of his victims were found wearing only bikinis. He befriended mostly Western tourists in Asia and then drugged and killed them. He was also called ‘the Serpent’ due to his skill at deception and evasion.
In 2014, he was convicted of killing Laurent Carriere, a Canadian backpacker, and given a second life sentence. A life-term in Nepal means 20 years in jail.
Shobraj had filed a plea claiming that he was put in prison for longer than the recommended period. Besides, there is a legal provision to release prisoners who complete 75 per cent jail term and show good character during imprisonment.
Charles Sobhraj was born on April 6, 1944, to an Indian father and a Vietnamese mother. His parents never got married and he was taken in by his mother's new husband who was with the French Army.
In France, Sobhraj faced several prison terms for petty crimes. In the early 1970s, he began travelling the world.
He was implicated in his first murder in 1975 and was eventually linked to murdering more than 20 people.
Sobhraj's modus operandi was to charm and befriend his victims, who were strangled, beaten or burned. He often used the passports of his male victims to travel to his next destination, AFP reported on Wednesday.
Sobhraj was arrested in India in 1976 after a French tourist died from poisoning at a Delhi hotel. He was first sentenced to 12 years for this murder but ultimately spent 21 years in jail, with a brief break in 1986 when he escaped and was caught again in the state of Goa.
After being released in 1997, Sobhraj went back to Paris but resurfaced in Nepal in 2003, where he was spotted in Kathmandu and arrested.
Charles Sobhraj also known as the 'bikini killer', escaped several high security jails and manipulated the legal system.