Kathmandu: Charles Sobhraj, the notorious French serial killer of Indian and Vietnamese parentage who committed a string of murders across Asia in the 1970s and was sentenced to life imprisonment, was released from a Nepalese prison on Friday and will be deported to France on the apex court’s order.
Sobhraj, 78, was released from the Central Prison here and handed over to the immigration authorities to process his travel documents, officials said. His lawyer Gopal Shivakoti Chintan told PTI that Sobhraj will be deported to France.
Media reports here also confirmed that he will be deported to France and barred from returning to Nepal for the rest of his life.
Once sent back to his homeland, the serial killer will be barred from entering the country forever, the report said, quoting government officials.
However, it has been reported that he requested to be admitted to the Gangalal Hospital for treatment for ten days. He had heart surgery there in 2017.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court directed the prison management authority to free the notorious killer, and deport him to France within 15 days through immigration, unless he is wanted in some other case.
A division bench of justices Sapana Pradhan Malla and Til Prasad Shrestha who had asked the government to arrange for his repatriation to France, concluded that Sobhraj should be freed as he has already completed 95 per cent of his jail term.
His release was delayed by a day as the immigration authorities on Thursday requested to postpone his release till Friday citing a lack of space to accommodate him.
Dubbed “the Bikini Killer” for his proclivity to target young women, particularly young western backpackers, and “the Serpent” for his skill at deception and evasion, Sobhraj was serving a life-term in the Kathmandu jail since 2003 for the murder of American woman Connie Jo Bronzich in 1975 in Nepal.
In 2014, he was convicted of killing Laurent Carriere, a Canadian backpacker, and given a second life sentence.
Arrested on September 19, 2003, Sobhraj’s lifetime imprisonment would have ended on September 18 next year. Sobhraj, who committed a string of murders across Asia in the 1970s, has been implicated in more than 20 killings, and served 21 years in prison in India for poisoning a French tourist and killing an Israeli national.
A life-term in Nepal means 20 years in jail. The order by the division bench of Nepal’s top court came after Sobhraj filed a plea claiming that he was put in prison for more than the period recommended for him.
There is a legal provision to release prisoners who have completed 75 percent jail term and showed good character during imprisonment.
Sobhraj, through his petition, claimed that he had completed his jail term as per the ‘concessions’ entitled to senior citizens of Nepal.
He claimed that he had already served 19 of the 20 years of his sentence and had already been recommended for release for good behavior. Sobhraj was spotted in a Kathmandu casino in August 2003 and arrested. He was slapped with a life sentence for the murder after a trial. He had been linked to multiple killings of backpackers.