Charles Sobhraj, murderer known as the Serpent, to be released from prison


Charles Sobhraj, the notorious 78-year-old French assassin, convicted of killing backpackers on the Asian “hippie trail” in the 1970s, was released from prison in Nepal after in the 19th year of the murder sentence, the Supreme Court of the country ruled on Wednesday.

Sobhraj is about to complete a 20-year prison sentence in Nepal, where he was convicted of the 1975 murders of American tourist Connie Jo Bronzich and her Canadian friend Laurent Carriere.

The killer, known by some as “the Snake” because he often evaded the police and used covert tactics, has been accused of more than a dozen murders, but the two have been found guilty in Nepal.

The judges ordered Sobhraj’s release within days on the basis of his old age, good behavior and the length of jail time already served, according to a verdict issued by the Supreme Court. of Nepal. Jurors said the convicted killer also suffered heart problems that required heart surgery.

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“His continued detention violates the human rights of prisoners,” the court ruled, adding: “If he is not required to be detained for another case, he should be released jail today, with the necessary arrangements to be released. he will return to his country within 15 days.

Lokbhakta Rana, Sobhraj’s lawyer, told The Washington Post on Thursday that he thanked the judges for their “very courageous decision” to order his release.

“I didn’t expect much. But it was the right decision,” said Rana. “No one wanted to let him go.”

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“He was charged according to the law, he was arrested according to the law, he was released according to the law.”

Rana said he hopes his client will be released from prison in Nepal within two weeks and return to France, where his lawyer says he is a citizen.

Sobhraj spent 21 years in prison in India since 1976 after being convicted of robbery. After escaping in 1986, when his first sentence was over, Sobhraj was recaptured and returned to prison where he served a lengthy sentence.

According to an Associated Press report from last year, Sobhraj was wanted when he was also arrested in Nepal, Singapore, Greece, Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Turkey and Iran for crimes ranging from car theft to drugged, robbed and killed the young couple. made friends.

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Sobhraj’s extended sentence was due to his attempted escape during his release from prison in 1997, an extradition request from Thailand, where he was wanted for 14 murders and sentenced to death, expired by law for 20 years. of obligations, an AP report was written at the time.

For reasons that remain unclear, Sobhraj returned to Nepal, where the police wanted him for the murder. In 2003 he was found in a Kathmandu casino by a reporter with The Himalayan Times, arrested and eventually sentenced to 20 years in prison.

His life has been the subject of many dramas – including “The Serpent,” a 2021 drama series by Netflix and the BBC.


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