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Charles ‘The Serpent’ Arrives In France From Nepal After Release

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Charles ‘The Serpent’ Arrives In France From Nepal After Release

(CTN NEWS) – PARIS – Charles Sobhraj, a convicted killer believed to have killed at least 20 tourists in Asia in the 1970s, arrived in Paris on Saturday after being released from a Nepalese jail where he had been serving a life term.

It was the most recent turn in a dramatic life story portrayed in “The Serpent,” a series co-produced by the BBC and Netflix that aired last year.

He has already admitted to killing foreign tourists while traveling through Asia.

He told The Associated Press over the phone shortly after touching down at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport, “I’m great, I’m pleased” to be in France. “We’ll eat lunch.”

Charles ‘The Serpent’ Arrives In France From Nepal After Release

credit: headTopics

Sobhraj, a 78-year-old French citizen, was released on Friday for his health and other reasons after serving life for the 1975 deaths of American and Canadian trekkers in Nepal.

Sobhraj will challenge his conviction in Nepal, according to his French attorney Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, who called him an “optimist” and strong after spending over 20 years in prison.

Sobhraj was escorted out of the Paris airport by French director Jean-Charles Deniau, who is also producing a movie and writing a book on his life.

“He is doing OK. He carries medication. He will travel widely while living in Paris.”

Requests for comment on whether he would be subject to legal proceedings in France were not met with any response from the French authorities.

Sobhraj claims French citizenship since he was born in Vietnam during the French occupation.

Charles ‘The Serpent’ Arrives In France From Nepal After Release

Nepalese police escort Charles Sobhraj, in brown cap, to the immigration office, in Kathmandu, Nepal, Friday, Dec. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

Between 1972 and 1982, he is thought to have killed at least 20 individuals in Afghanistan, India, Thailand, Turkey, Nepal, Iran, and Hong Kong.

However, despite having several charges filed against him, judicial officials in the area had difficulty proving his guilt in the crimes or keeping him locked up.

He was detained in New Delhi in 1976 and charged with the murder and theft of jewels from two foreign visitors. He was found guilty of the theft but not the murder.

He was charged with 14 murders in Thailand. By continuing to appear before Indian courts until the Thai case was over in 1996, he evaded extradition. He would have been executed in Thailand.

He escaped from the high-security Tihar prison in New Delhi in 1986 by tricking the guards into sharing a drug-laced birthday cake, but he was eventually apprehended.

FILE - Police escort convicted French serial killer Charles Sobhraj from court in Katmandu, Nepal on Aug. 12, 2004. Confessed serial killer Sobhraj, who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in Nepal, was ordered Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022, to be released because of poor health, good behavior and having already served most of his sentence. (AP Photo/Binod Joshi, File)

Police escort convicted French serial killer Charles Sobhraj from court in Katmandu, Nepal on Aug. 12, 2004. (AP Photo/Binod Joshi, File)

He was deported from India to France in 1997 and lived there freely while being looked into for allegedly attempting to poison a party of French tourists while they were visiting India.

He reappeared in 2003 and was interrogated regarding the unsolved deaths of two Canadian and American backpackers, whose burned bodies were discovered outside Kathmandu.

The next year, he was found guilty and given a life sentence.

Despite having in the past admitted to talking of killing other visitors, Sobhraj claimed on his innocence in that case. He expressed regret for some portions of his history after being freed from the Indian prison.

In Nepal, life terms are 20 years. The Nepal Supreme Court said last week that he had heart disease, had already completed more than 75% of his sentence, had been obedient in prison, and was therefore eligible for release.

Charles ‘The Serpent’ Arrives In France From Nepal After Release

Charles Sobhraj’s lawyer Gopal Siwakoti, right, talks to media outside immigration office, in Kathmandu, Nepal, Friday, Dec. 23, 2022.. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

He was released on Friday and given a 15-day departure order from Nepal.

According to lawyer Gopal Siwakoti Chitan, a friend helped pay for a trip to France, and the French Embassy prepared travel paperwork permitting him to escape.

His French attorney praised his release. At the airport, Coutant-Peyre stated, “I’m thrilled but also startled that it took 19 years to achieve his normal freedom.

She alleged that the French government had not done enough to support or defend him and that his murder conviction in Nepal resulted from a “fabricated case.”

Sobhraj, according to her, claimed to have watched the television show “The Serpent” and called it “trash first of all, and that 70% of it is entirely fake.”

Notably, the series follows the steps taken by Dutch ambassador Herman Knippenberg to launch a global inquiry into the suspected murders of Sobhraj.

His reputation as a master of disguise and escape is the source of his “serpent” moniker. Because he frequently preyed on young women, he was sometimes called “the bikini killer.”


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Alishba Waris is an independent journalist working for CTN News. She brings a wealth of experience and a keen eye for detail to her reporting. With a knack for uncovering the truth, Waris isn't afraid to ask tough questions and hold those in power accountable. Her writing is clear, concise, and cuts through the noise, delivering the facts readers need to stay informed. Waris's dedication to ethical journalism shines through in her hard-hitting yet fair coverage of important issues.

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