‘The Serpent’ Charles Sobhraj leaves Nepal jail, deported to France

Kathmandu: Charles Sobhraj, a notorious French serial killer of Indian and Vietnamese origin, was deported to France on Friday, hours after serving most of his sentence for a series of murders across Asia in the 1970s.

Sobhraj, 78, was released from Kathmandu’s Central Jail on Friday morning and taken to the Immigration Department in a heavily guarded police convoy. He arrived free two days after the Supreme Court ordered his release and deportation to his home country.

Nepal’s immigration department and the French embassy collaborated to prepare Sobhraj’s travel documents.

According to Sudesh Subedi, a lawyer for Sobhraj told PTI that they were waiting for his mother and daughter to reach Paris.

Fanindra Mani Pokharel, Joint Secretary and Spokesperson of the Ministry of Home Affairs, said Sobhraj will be banned from entering Nepal for the next ten years.

The Home Ministry has expelled Charles Sobhraj, barring him from entering Nepal for the next ten years, Pokharel told The Kathmandu Post.

Sobhraj flew to Doha on Qatar Airways flight QR647 and will then depart for Paris.

Earlier, his lawyer Gopal Shivakoti Chintan told PTI that Sobhraj was taken to the Tribhuvan International Airport here for deportation to France.

Dubbed the “Bikini Killer” for his penchant for targeting young women, particularly young Western backpackers, and the “Serpent” for his skill at deception and escape, Sobhraj had been serving a life sentence in a Kathmandu jail since 2003 for the murder of an American woman. Connie Jo Bronzich in Nepal in 1975.

The media here said that he wanted to stay in Nepal and Gangalal was asked to be treated at the hospital for ten days. He underwent heart surgery there in 2017.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ordered the prison management authority to release the known murderer and deport him to France through immigration within 15 days, unless he is wanted in another case.

A division bench of Justices Sapana Pradhan Malla and Til Prasad Shrestha, which asked the government to arrange his repatriation to France, concluded that Sobhraj should be released as he has already served 95 percent of his jail term.

The release was delayed by a day after immigration authorities on Thursday requested that the release be delayed until Friday because there was not enough room to accommodate him.

Nicknamed the “Bikini Killer” for his propensity to target young women, particularly young western backpackers, and “The Snake” for his skill at deception and escape, Sobhraj had been serving a life sentence in a Kathmandu jail since 2003 for the murder of the American woman. Connie Jo Bronzich in Nepal in 1975.

In 2014, Laurent Carriere, a Canadian backpacker, was convicted of murder and sentenced to a second life sentence.

Arrested on September 19, 2003, Sobhraj’s life sentence was set to expire on September 18 next year. Sobhraj, who went on a killing spree across Asia in the 1970s, has been implicated in more than 20 murders and served 21 years in prison in India for poisoning a French tourist and killing an Israeli.

A life sentence in Nepal means 20 years in prison.

The order of the division bench of the Supreme Court of Nepal came after Sobhraj filed a petition claiming that he was imprisoned beyond the recommended period.

There is a statutory provision for the release of prisoners who have served 75 percent of their prison term and who have shown good character during their imprisonment.

Sobhraj, through his petition, claimed to have served his prison term under concessions to which senior citizens in Nepal are entitled.

He said he had served 19 of the 20 years of his sentence and was recommended for release for good behavior.

Sobhraj was spotted in a casino in Kathmandu in August 2003 and arrested. He was sentenced to life in prison for murder after a trial.

He was linked to several backpacker murders.

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