Charles Sobhraj: French serial killer “The Serpent” released from Nepal prison


Charles Sobhraj, the notorious French serial killer who inspired the award-winning TV series The Serpent, was released from a Nepalese prison on Friday.

“Sobhraj was released from prison. He was handed over to the immigration authorities. Immigration officials informed us earlier today that he will soon be deported to France,” Ishwari Prasad Pandey, an official at the Nepal Central Prison, told CNN.

According to AFP, he arrived in Paris on Saturday.

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 top court on Wednesday ordered his release due to his age and health. He has heart disease and will need open-heart surgery, the court said.

Sobraj before the District Court in Kathmandu, September 22, 2003.

Born in French-administered Saigon, Vietnam, Sobhraj was first jailed for burglary in Paris in 1963, but was later accused of crimes in a number of countries: France, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, India , Thailand and Malaysia.

He also escaped from prisons in several countries, and his penchant for evading 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 interviewers before retracting the confessions before further trials, according to his biographers. His true number of victims is unknown.

In 2014, a Nepalese court sentenced Sobhraj to 20 years in prison for the 1975 murder of Canadian tourist Laurent Carrière.

The 2021 BBC/Netflix drama The Serpent is based on the story of Sobhraj’s alleged murders. It tells how he evaded the law across Asia for years by allegedly drugging, robbing and murdering backpackers along the so-called ‘hippie trail’ – while former Dutch diplomat Herman Knippenberg was collaborating with authorities to get him catch.

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