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Nepal Frees Serial Killer Charles Sobhraj aka “The Serpent”

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Nepal Frees Serial Killer Charles Sobhraj aka The Serpent

Charles Sobhraj, a French national known as “The Serpent” responsible for a string of murders in the 1970s and 1980s, was ordered released by Nepal’s Supreme Court on Wednesday due to his age.

Charles Sobhraj, 78, was convicted of murdering over 20 young Western backpackers in Asia, most of whom were drugged in their food or drink. He had served 19 of his 20-year sentence.

Thailand issued a warrant for his arrest in the mid-1970s, accusing him of drugging and killing six women wearing bikinis on a beach in Pattaya.

He was also dubbed “The Serpent” because of his ability to disguise himself after escaping from a prison in India in the mid-1980s, where he was serving a 21-year sentence for murder. He was later apprehended and imprisoned there until 1997.

Nepal Frees Serial Killer Charles Sobhraj aka "The Serpent"

Charles Sobhraj returned to France after being released from India, and in 2003 he was arrested in a casino in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, and later charged with the murder of American backpacker Connie Jo Bronzich.

Since 2003, he has been held in a high-security prison in Kathmandu.

After 19 years in prison, Nepal’s Supreme Court judges Sapana Pradhan Malla and Til Prasad Shrestha ordered Sobhraj’s release and deportation from Nepal on Wednesday.

Charles Sobhraj,

“If there is no other reason to keep him in jail, the court has ordered that he be released and sent back to his country within 15 days,” said Supreme Court spokesperson Bimal Paudel.

In Nepal, convicts sentenced to life imprisonment typically serve 20 years in prison.

“He had already served 95% of his prison term and should have been released sooner due to his age,” Charles Sobhraj’s laywer Ram Bandhu Sharma said, adding that Charles Sobhraj could be released by Thursday.

Last year, the BBC and Netflix co-produced “The Serpent,” a TV series that dramatized his crimes.

The story follows Charles Sobhraj, a French serial killer of Indian and Vietnamese descent, as he drugs and robs travellers, particularly young backpackers, as they travel through Bangkok, Thailand, along the overland route in the mid-1970s.

He steals his victims’ passports and identities and travels the world with girlfriend Marie-Andrée Leclerc, selling stolen gems.

When a Dutch diplomat, Herman Knippenberg, begins investigating the murders of Dutch tourists and discovers clues leading to Sobhraj, he is at the height of his crimes.

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