Nepal ready to deport aging ‘bikini killer’ Charles Sobhraj

COLOMBO, 22 Dec 2022:

Nepal’s supreme court yesterday ordered the release of French serial killer Charles Sobhraj, 78, and asked authorities to prepare to deport him to France – under a legal provision linked to his advanced age.

According to the judgment passed by a bench comprising of judges Sapna Pradhan Malla and Til Prasad Shreshtha, Sobhraj – who has been serving a prison term in Nepal’s central prison since 2004 – has to be released immediately.

Sobhraj’s lawyers had filed a petition demanding the privilege of 75% prison exemption that senior citizens are granted in Nepal.

As per the law, up to 75% of prison exemptions can be granted to criminals who have attained the age of 75, after reviewing the criminals’ good behaviour in prison.

The court also ordered authorities to take necessary steps to send Sobhraj back to his country within 15 days.

Copies of the release order have been sent to corresponding authorities, including the district courts of Kathmandu and Bhaktapur, said supreme court spokesperson Bimal Paudel.

“The district courts will check if he has other cases. The district court will then write to the jail for his release.”

The Vietnam-born French citizen, with an Indian father and Vietnamese mother, has been implicated in more than 20 murders across Asia in the 1970s.

Sobhraj was captured in New Delhi in 1976 after a series of murders in the 1970s, with many of the victims being backpackers, and served a 20-year prison sentence in India for poisoning a bus full of French tourists.

However he managed to escape to France in 1986, but was arrested again in India’s coastal state of Goa later.

After being released in 1997, Sobhraj was rearrested in Kathmandu in 2003.

The Nepali supreme court sentenced him to life imprisonment for murdering an American citizen, Connie Joe Bronzich, in Nepal in 1975.

In 2014, he was held guilty of murdering Laurent Carriere, a Canadian backpacker, and handed another life term.

Sobhraj was dubbed “the bikini killer” due to being linked to the murder of two women wearing bikinis.

He has also been called “the serpent” due to his ability to easily change identities.

In October 2008, Sobhraj married Nihita Biswas, the daughter of his lawyer, from his prison in Nepal.

In June 2017, a team of doctors performed an open-heart surgery on the killer at the Shahid Gangalal National Heart Centre.

“Yes! He has a heart and I just fixed valves inside. #Charles #Sobhraj,” one of the doctors had tweeted immediately after the procedure.