'Bikini Killer' Charles Sobhraj to walk free; what you must know about 'The Serpent'
According to the Nepal Supreme Court verdict, 78-year-old Sobhraj will be sent back to his country within 15 days. The court directed authorities to arrange for Sobhraj's travel home.
The Bikini Killer... The Serpent... These are some of the notorious sobriquets that Charles Sobhraj earned as his crime sheet grew longer. Jailed in Nepal since 2003 on murder charges, today, the ruthless Frenchman of Indian and Vietnamese parentage will walk free from prison following the Nepal Supreme Court ordering his release on Wednesday.
The order of the Nepal Supreme Court's division bench comprising justices Sapana Pradhan Malla and Tilak Prasad Shrestha came after Shobraj filed a plea claiming that he had spent more time in prison than he was sentenced for.
According to the Nepal Supreme Court verdict, 78-year-old Sobhraj will be sent back to his country within 15 days. The court directed authorities to arrange for Sobhraj's travel home. Media reports cited court documents that mentioned that Shobraj, who had heart surgery before, needed to have open heart surgery again.
Sobhraj became a household name in India after his crime spree in the 1970s came to light. It is believed that in 1970, Sobhraj killed 15 to 20 people. He earned the nickname 'The Bikini Killer' after two of his victims were found wearing only bikinis.
He used to befriend mostly Western tourists in Asia, later drugging and killing them mostly between 1972 and 1976. Sobhraj spent 21 years in jail in India. Then, in 1986, he escaped the high-security Tihar Jail after drugging security guards, whom he had served sweets on the pretext of birthday celebrations.
In August 2003, Sobhraj was arrested after he was spotted in a Kathmandu casino. He was convicted for the murder of American woman Connie Jo Bronzich in 1975 in Nepal. In 2014, he was given a second life sentence after being convicted of killing Canadian backpacker Laurent Carriere. To note, a life term in Nepal means 20 years in jail.
In his petition before the Supreme Court, Sobhraj cited a provision in Nepalese law for releasing prisoners who have completed 75 per cent jail term and showed good character during imprisonment. Sobhraj claimed that he had already been recommended for release for behaving well after completing his jail term as per the concessions entitled to senior citizens of Nepal.