January 31, 2023

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Serial killer Charles Sobhraj released from Nepal prison

Charles Sobhraj should be released on health grounds. (a file)

Kathmandu:

Nepal’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the release of Charles Sobhraj, the French serial killer featured in the Netflix series “The Serpent” who was responsible for a string of murders across Asia in the 1970s.

The Supreme Court ruled that Sobhraj, 78, who had been imprisoned in the Himalayan Republic since 2003 for killing two North American tourists, should be released for health reasons.

“Keeping him in prison continuously is not in line with the human rights of a prisoner,” a copy of the ruling was seen by AFP.

“If there are no further cases pending against him to keep him imprisoned, this court shall order his release by today…and return him to his country within 15 days.”

After a troubled childhood and several prison sentences in France for petty crimes, Sobhraj began traveling around the world in the early 1970s and ended up in the Thai capital, Bangkok.

His modus operandi was to charm and befriend his victims—many of them distinguished Western travelers in search of spirituality—before drugging, robbing, and killing them.

Suave and sophisticated, he was involved in the first murder of a young American woman whose body was found on a beach in Pattaya in a bikini, in 1975.

It was eventually linked to more than 20 killings. His victims were strangled, beaten, and burned, and he often used his male victims’ passports to travel to his next destination.

Sobhraj’s nickname, “The Snake”, came from his ability to assume other identities in order to evade justice. It became the title of a successful BBC and Netflix series that was based on his life.

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He was arrested in India in 1976, after a French tourist died of poisoning in a Delhi hotel, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the murder.

Sobhraj eventually served 21 years in prison, with a short break in 1986 when he escaped and was caught again in the coastal Indian state of Goa.

After his release in 1997, Subraj retired to Paris but reappeared in 2003 in Nepal, where he was seen in the Kathmandu tourist area and arrested.

A court there sentenced him to life in prison the following year for the murder of American tourist Connie Jo Brunsich in 1975. A decade later, he was also convicted of killing Brunsich’s Canadian companion.

In prison in 2008, Sobhraj married Nehita Biswas, who is 44 years his junior and the daughter of his Nepalese lawyer.

(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by the NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)