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Nepal to release serial killer Charles Sobhraj ‘the Serpent’

Nepal: The Supreme Court of Nepal on Wednesday ordered the release of serial killer Charles Sobhraj aka “the Serpent,” on account of his old age. “The court has ordered that if there is no other reason to keep him in jail, he should be released and sent back to his country within 15 days.

“He had already served 95% of his jail term and should have released earlier due to his age.” Sobhraj’s lawyer Ram Bandhu Sharma said. Sobhraj would likely be freed from Kathmandu’s Central Jail on Thursday, an official at the prison said.

The Frenchman has been linked to the killing of 20 young Western backpackers across Asia during the 1970s and 1980s. He has reached some notoriety thanks to books and a Netflix series about his crimes.

Sobhraj, 78, was associated with a string of backpacker murders across south Asia in the 1970s and 1980s. He was serving two life sentences in Nepal for the murders of an American and Canadian backpacker.

Sobhraj, a French citizen, in the past admitted to killing several Western tourists. He is linked to at least 20 murders in Afghanistan, India, Thailand, Turkey, Nepal, Iran, and Hong Kong.

He was also known as the “bikini killer” after Thailand issued his arrest warrant on charges of drugging and killing 6 women on a beach in Pattaya. Sobhraj’s sobriquet, “the Serpent”, came from his ability to assume other identities in order to evade justice.

Sobhraj was, however, first caught by authorities in India, and, served more than two decades in jail from 1976. He managed to briefly escape in 1986, but was rearrested and served out his sentence.

While in 2003 he decided to return to Nepal where was an outstanding arrest warrant waiting for him. 

In 2004, he was sentenced to a life term for the murder of American backpacker Connie Jo Bronzich in 1975. Several years later he was also found guilty in the killing of Bronzich’s Canadian friend, Laurent Carriere.

His life has been the subject of several books and at least one movie. Last year, the BBC and Netflix jointly produced a series, “The Serpent,” dramatizing his crimes.

Zahra Sikandar
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