The Nepalese supreme court has ordered the release of the French serial killer Charles Sobhraj, known as “the Serpent”, who preyed on western tourists travelling on the hippy trail in south Asia in the 1970s and was jailed for life for the murder of an American woman.
Sobhraj, who has French citizenship and is of Indian and Vietnamese descent, has been linked to the killings of 20 foreign tourists across Thailand, Nepal and India. He is said to have lured them in before drugging, robbing and murdering them.
His life has been subject to several dramatisations, including the BBC/Netflix series The Serpent, which depicted his targeting of western backpackers in India and Thailand.
Sobhraj was caught by authorities in India and served a two-decade prison sentence from 1976. However, his spell behind bars in Delhi was a luxurious one. Sobhraj bribed guards with gems and large sums of money, and gave outrageous interviews to western journalists, in which he would describe his killings and crimes in detail.
In 1986, he managed to briefly escape by throwing a party in his “luxury wing”, where he drugged the guards. Police eventually caught up with him in Goa and he was returned to prison.
Sobhraj was released in 1997 and returned to Paris, where he lived an ostentatious life, charging vast sums for interviews. But in 2003, he decided to return to Nepal, where there was an outstanding arrest warrant for him. He was spotted outside a casino in Kathmandu by a journalist, who wrote up the story.
Sobhraj was arrested not long after and given a life sentence in 2004 for the killing of Connie Jo Bronzich, a 29-year-old American, in 1975.
He was convicted in 2014 of the 1975 murder of Laurent Carrière, a 26-year-old Canadian.
The court ordered on Wednesday that Sobhraj, who is now 78, be released on the basis of his age.
Lok Bhakta Rana, Sobhraj’s lawyer, said: “He will be deported within 15 days. From the jail, they will send him to the immigration office, which will be a cell. They are processing his deportation and he could go much earlier.”
In 2008, while in jail, Sobhraj married Nihita Biswas, a Nepalese woman who is 44 years his junior and the daughter of his lawyer.
Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!