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Thursday, 3 December 2009

Notorious French serial killer Charles Sobhraj, serving time in a Kathmandu prison for the murder of two western holidaymakers, could be out of jail


15:10 | , ,

Notorious French serial killer Charles Sobhraj, serving time in a Kathmandu prison for the murder of two western holidaymakers, could be out of jail in February, his lawyer said.Sobhraj was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of two backpackers — Canadian Laurent Ormond Carriere, 26, and Connie Bronzich, 29, of California, United States — in the Himalayan state in 1975.“Prosecutors don’t have a single (piece of) evidence against Charles to show that he entered Nepal to kill. For the past 30 years, they are trying to establish evidence. Now his only charge is about false passport.“We have a very strong case and, sure, he will be freed by February next year,” Shakuntala Thapa, one of Sobhraj’s lawyers, told Bernama in a telephone interview from Kathmandu.

Nicknamed the “bikini killer”, the flamboyant globe-trotting Frenchman, who often preyed on young western tourists touring Southeast Asian capitals, allegedly committed at least 12 murders between 1972 and 1976.
But investigators across the world believe numerous other murders have gone unreported.
After a string of arrests and escapes from high-security prisons from Bangkok to Kabul for alleged crimes — from possessing fake passports, drug dealings, gemstones smuggling to murders — Sobhraj was finally arrested in New Delhi in July 1976 for drugging French tourists and robbing jewellery from a hotel.In 1986, he escaped from India’s Tihar prison by drugging the prison guards but was rearrested by Indian police months later, and he stayed behind bars until 1997.
After his release, Sobhraj returned to France and suddenly emerged in Kathmandu in 2004, where he was arrested while holidaying.The 65-year-old Sobhraj was born Gurmukh Sobhraj to an Indian father and a Vietnamese mother and became a French citizen after his mother remarried, to a French national.Last year, while in prison, he married 20-year-old Nihita Biswas, his interpreter and the daughter of his lawyer Shakuntala, in a simple Nepali ceremony.Sobhraj has also earned another nickname, “the serpent”, for his tact in deceiving authorities and staging daring prison breakouts.


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