Nepal’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the release of notorious French serial killer Charles Sobhraj, a Frenchman of Indian and Vietnamese parentage who has been in jail in Kathmandu since 2003 on murder charges.
A joint bench of justices Sapana Pradhan Malla and Tilak Prasad Shrestha ordered to free 78-year-old Sobhraj from jail, according to Supreme Court sources.
The court verdict also asked the concerned authority to arrange for Sobhraj to return to his country within 15 days.
Nicknamed “the Bikini Killer” and “the Serpent” due to his skill at deception and evasion, Sobharaj is 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.
A life-term in Nepal means 20 years in jail.
The order by the division bench of Nepal’s top court on Wednesday came after Shobraj filed a plea claiming that he was put in prison more than the period recommended for him.
There is a legal provision to release prisoners who have completed 75 per cent jail term and showed good character during imprisonment.
Sobhraj through his petition had 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 17 of the 20 years of his sentence and had already been recommended for release for behaving well.
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.
Sobhraj spent 21 years in jail in India with a brief 22-day break in 1986 when he escaped high security Tihar Jail after drugging security guards, whom he had served sweets on the pretext of celebrating his birthday.
Sobhraj is believed to have killed 15 to 20 people in 1970s.
Two of his victims were found wearing only bikinis. He befriended mostly Western tourists in Asia, later drugging and killing them mostly between 1972 and 1976.
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