South Asia

Nepal court orders release of serial killer Charles Sobhraj

NEW DELHI: Nepal’s top court ordered on Wednesday the release of Charles Sobhraj, the French serial killer, who was responsible for a string of murders across Asia in the 1970s.
The Supreme Court ruled Sobhraj, 78, who has been in prison in the Himalayan republic since 2003 for murdering two North American tourists, should be freed on health grounds, according to the verdict.
This comes nearly a year after the country’s Supreme Court issued a showcause notice to the government asking why Sobhraj, serving life imprisonment in a murder case, should not be released after spending 18 years in prison.
Shobhraj’s lawyers had appealed for his release on grounds of his advanced age.
He was charged with using a fake passport to enter Nepal and killing two backpackers in 1975- US citizen Connie Jo Boronzich, 29, and his girlfriend Canadian Laurent Carrière, 26.
Charles Sobhraj, also known as the “Bikini Killer” and “Serpent,” is a French serial killer and con artist who was active in the 1970s and is believed to have killed at least 12 people in Southeast Asia.
Born in 1944 in Vietnam, Sobhraj was the son of an Indian father and Vietnamese mother. He moved to France at a young age and became involved in criminal activity early on, including petty theft and fraud. In the 1970s, Sobhraj traveled to Southeast Asia, where he began committing more serious crimes, including murder.
Sobhraj targeted tourists, particularly backpackers, in Thailand, Nepal, and India. He would often befriend them and then drug them, stealing their possessions and identification. In some cases, he killed his victims and disposed of their bodies in a gruesome manner, earning him the nickname “Bikini Killer.”
Sobhraj was finally caught in 1976 in New Delhi, India, after a series of murders and theft at the city’s Ashoka Hotel. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison, but he managed to escape in 1986 and fled to France. He was later arrested in 1997 in Nepal and extradited back to India, where he was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of an American tourist.
Despite his reputation as a ruthless and cunning criminal, Sobhraj has always maintained his innocence and has claimed that he was framed for the crimes he was convicted of.
Sobhraj’s story has been the subject of numerous books, documentaries, and movies, including the TV series “The Serpent,” which was released in 2021.

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