Charles Sobhraj, a convicted murderer who police say was responsible for a series of murders in the 1970s and 1980s, was released from prison in Nepal on Friday after nearly two decades behind bars. grid.
78 years old French citizen suspected of murdering more than 20 backpackers on the “hippie road” across Asia, often by drugging their food or drink during their robbery.
Pradashanie Kumari, acting general manager of immigration, said Nepal had banned Sobhraj from entering the country for 10 years.
The Himalayan nation’s supreme court on Wednesday ordered his release from prison, where he served 19 years of a 20-year sentence, citing advanced age.
After being released, Sobhraj told AFP news agency, “I feel great… I have a lot of work to do. I have to sue a lot of people. Including the state of Nepal.”
Sobhraj has been held in a high-security prison in Kathmandu since 2003, when he was arrested for the murder of American tourist Connie Jo Bronzich in 1975.
He was dubbed the “bikini killer” in Thailand and the “snake” for evading the police and using disguises. He has been the subject of several TV series, including a joint Netflix and BBC production that was released last year.
While in prison, Sobhraj married Nihita Biswas, a Nepalese woman 44 years his junior in 2008.
“I am very happy and have great respect for the judiciary and our supreme court,” Sobhraj’s mother-in-law Sakuntala Thapa told Reuters partner ANI after news of his release was made public. dad.
Sobhraj has denied killing the American woman and his lawyers say the charge against him is presumptive.
A few years later, he was also found guilty of murdering Bronzich’s Canadian friend, Laurent Carriere.
He is also suspected of numerous other murders, including in Thailand, where police say he allegedly drugged and killed six women in the 1970s, some of them died on a beach near the resort in Pattaya.
‘You are Charles’
Sobhraj was jailed in India for poisoning a group of French tourists in the capital New Delhi in 1976, before he could stand trial over the charges against him in Thailand.
He escaped from India’s Tihar prison in 1986 after drugging the guards with cookies and cakes laced with sleeping pills.
Police arrested Sobhraj a few days later at a restaurant in the state of Goa, an Indian beach resort.
“I walked up to their desk and said ‘you’re Charles’,” Madhukar Zende, the officer who arrested him in Goa, told The Indian Express in an interview published Friday.
A statue of Sobhraj remains at the restaurant in Goa to this day. He was imprisoned in India until 1997 when he returned to France.
Born to a Vietnamese mother and Indian father, he has been described by associates as a con man, a seducer, a robber and a murderer.
The true number of his victims, spanning decades and in several countries, remains unknown.