France’s ‘Serpent’ serial killer who murdered 20 people freed from Nepal jail

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Charles Sobhraj, confessed to being a French serial killer, was released from prison in Nepal on Friday after serving most of his sentence for murdering American and Canadian backpackers, and was taken to the airport for his return flight to Paris, his lawyer said.

Lawyer Gopal Siwakoti Chitan said a ticket was purchased with money from a friend and that the French Embassy in Kathmandu had prepared the necessary travel documents for him to board the plane on Friday evening.

Sobhraj was taken from the Central Prison in Kathmandu to the Immigration Department in a heavily guarded police convoy early Friday.

The Supreme Court ruled that Sobhraj, who was sentenced to life in prison, should be released because of poor health, good behavior, and serving more than 75% of his sentence, making him eligible for release. He said Sobhraj has heart disease.

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Life imprisonment in Nepal is 20 years.

Convicted French serial killer Charles Sobhraj is escorted by police from the courtroom in Kathmandu, Nepal, on August 12, 2004. (AP Photo/Binod Joshi, File)

The Emir also said that he must leave the country within 15 days.

Sobhraj admitted to killing large numbers of Western tourists in the past. It is believed to have killed at least 20 people in Afghanistan, India, Thailand, Turkey, Nepal, Iran and Hong Kong in the 1970s. His 2004 conviction in Nepal was the first time he had been found guilty in court.

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Sobhraj was previously held for twenty years in New Delhi’s maximum security Tihar prison on suspicion of theft, but was deported to France without charge in 1997. It reappeared in Kathmandu in September 2003.

His nickname Snake derives from his reputation as a disguise and escape artist.

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