June 25, 2024 05:22:35 booked.net

Nepal to release serial killer Charles ‘The Serpent’ Sobhraj

FILE PHOTO: French serial killer Charles Sobhraj leaves Kathmandu district court after his hearing in Kathmandu May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar/File Photo

French serial killer Charles Sobhraj was released from prison after 19 years, According to information, the Supreme Court of Nepal has ordered the release of killer Charles Sobhraj on the basis of his old age. Sobhraj was lodged in Nepal’s Kathmandu jail since 2003 on charges of killing two American tourists. Earlier, Charles himself had demanded 75 percent remission on his jail sentence.

Bikini Killer

Nepal’s Supreme Court ordered the release of Sobhraj, known as the “bikini killer” in Thailand, and ‘The Serpent” for his evasion of police, on Wednesday citing his advanced age and health.

A French national who was born to an Indian father and Vietnamese mother, Sobhraj, 78, landed at Paris’ main international airport shortly after 7 a.m. and was escorted off the plane by police for identity checks.

“He is well, he is a free man,” Sobhraj’s lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre told Reuters. Asked what his next steps would be, she said: “He will file a legal complaint against Nepal because the whole case against him was fabricated.”

He was arrested in India in 1976 and ultimately spent 21 years in jail there, with a brief break in 1986 when he drugged prison guards and escaped. He was recaptured in Goa.

Released in 1997, Sobhraj lived in Paris, giving paid interviews to journalists, but went back to Nepal in 2003.

He was then dramatically spotted in a casino playing baccarat by journalist Joseph Nathan, one of the founders of the Himalayan Times newspaper, and arrested.

“He looked harmless… It was sheer luck that I recognised him,” Nathan told AFP on Thursday. “I think it was karma.”

A court in Nepal handed him a life sentence the following year for killing US tourist Connie Jo Bronzich in 1975. A decade later he was also found guilty of killing Bronzich’s Canadian companion.

Behind bars, Sobhraj maintained he was innocent of both murders and claimed he had never been to Nepal before the trip that resulted in his arrest.

“I really didn’t do it, and I think I will be out,” he told AFP in 2007 during an interview at Kathmandu’s Central Jail.

Thai police officer Sompol Suthimai, whose work with Interpol was instrumental in securing the 1976 arrest, had pushed for him to be extradited to Thailand and tried for murders there.

But on Thursday, he told AFP that he did not object to the release, as both he and the criminal he once pursued were now too old.

“I don’t have any feelings towards him now that it’s been so long,” said Suthimai, 90. “I think he has already paid for his actions.”