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Charles Sobhraj: French serial killer “Le Serpent” released from Nepalese prison


Charles Sobhraj, the infamous French serial killer who inspired the nominated TV series ‘The Serpent’, was released from a Nepalese prison on Friday.

“Sobhraj has been released from prison. He was turned over to the immigration service. Immigration department officials have informed us that he will soon be deported to France, starting today,” Ishwari Prasad Pandey, an official at Nepal’s central prison, told CNN.

Sobhraj, 78, was serving a life sentence in Nepal for killing two tourists in 1975, but many of his alleged murders remain unsolved.

He was released after Nepal’s highest court on Wednesday ordered his release due to his age and health condition. He has a heart condition and needs open-heart surgery, the court heard.

Local officials said they were planning Sobhraj’s immediate eviction, which could take place as early as Friday.

“We are working to collect all the necessary travel documents to deport Sobhraj to France,” Nepal’s immigration department acting director general Pradarshani Kumari told CNN, adding that “it could happen today (Friday). ), it could take a few days.”

“The court order is to send him back to his country of origin within 15 days. We are working to deport him with this time frame in mind. It will remain under the supervision of the Nepalese government until it flies away. We are working with the Ministry of Interior on its security,” Kumari added.

The official said the department is in close contact with the French Embassy in Kathmandu.

Born in Saigon, Vietnam, under French administration, Sobhraj was first imprisoned in Paris in 1963 for burglary, but was later accused of committing crimes in a list of countries: France, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, India, Thailand and Malaysia.

He also escaped from prison in several countries and his propensity to evade authorities earned him the nickname “The Serpent”.

Sobhraj is escorted by Nepalese police to a district court in Bhaktapur on June 12, 2014.

Sobhraj eventually admitted to at least 12 murders between 1972 and 1976, and hinted at others to investigators before retracting the confessions ahead of further court cases, according to his biographers. His true number of victims is unknown.

In 2014, a Nepalese court convicted Sobhraj of the 1975 murder of Canadian tourist Laurent Carrière, handing down a 20-year sentence.

The 2021 BBC/Netflix drama titled “The Serpent” is based on the story of the alleged murders of Sobhraj. He recounts how for years he evaded the law across Asia as he allegedly drugged, robbed and murdered backpackers along the so-called ‘hippie trail’ – while former Dutch diplomat Herman Knippenberg was working with the authorities to capture him.

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