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


Charles Sobharaj, 78, a notorious French murderer convicted of killing backpackers who toured Asia’s “hippy trail” in the 1970s, will be freed from prison in Nepal after serving 19 years for murder, the country’s Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.

Sobhraj, accused in the 1975 murders of American tourist Connie Jo Broncich and her Canadian companion Laurent Carrier, had almost completed a 20-year prison sentence in Nepal.

The criminal, dubbed “the snake” by some for his frequent escapes from police and his use of incognito, has been accused of more than a dozen murders, but was found guilty of two in Nepal.

Judges ordered Sobharaj’s release within days based on his old age, good behavior and jail time already served, according to a ruling issued by Nepal’s Supreme Court. The judges noted that the convict also had a heart condition that required open heart surgery.

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The court said that his continued detention was a violation of the prisoners’ human rights: “If it is not necessary to detain him in any other case, he should be released from jail today and necessary arrangements should be made to send him. He returned to his country within 15 days.

Shobhraj’s lawyer, Lokbhakta Rana, told The Washington Post on Thursday that he commended the judges for the “very brave decision” to order his immediate release.

“I honestly didn’t expect that. But it is the right decision,” added Rana. “No one wanted to release him.”

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“He was tried by law, he was imprisoned by law, he was released by law.”

Rana said his client would be released from jail in Nepal in two weeks and return to France, where his lawyer says he has citizenship.

Sobharaj spent 21 years in jail in India since 1976 after being convicted of theft. Following an escape attempt in 1986, when his original sentence was about to expire, Sobharaj was recaptured and returned to prison, where he served a lengthy sentence.

At the time of his recapture, Sobhraj was wanted in Nepal, Singapore, Greece, Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Turkey and Iran for crimes ranging from car theft to drug dealing, extortion and the killing of a young couple, according to an Associated Press report that year. Friendship was established.

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When he was released from prison in 1997, Sobharaj’s sentence expired due to an extradition request from Thailand, where he was wanted for 14 murders and faced the death penalty. An AP report noted at the time the limitations.

For unclear reasons, Sobharaj returned to Nepal, where he was wanted by the police for murder. In 2003, a reporter from the Himalayan Times spotted him in a Kathmandu casino, arrested him, and eventually convicted 20 people. years in prison.

His life has been the subject of multiple dramatizations — including the 2021 multipart drama “The Serpent” by Netflix and the BBC.


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