French serial killer Charles Sobhraj (C) sits in an aircraft departing from Kathmandu to France, on December 23, 2022. - French serial killer Charles Sobhraj, responsible for multiple murders in the 1970s across Asia, was freed on December 23 after spending almost 20 years in a Nepali prison | Photo: AFP
Kathmandu [Nepal]: French 'serial killer' Charles Sobhraj, responsible for multiple murders in the 1970s across Asia, left for France on Friday after being freed from a 20-year spell in a Nepali prison, reported France24.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court in the Himalayan nation ordered the release of Sobhraj on the grounds of old age and deteriorating health conditions.
Since 2003, he was serving his sentence in a Nepal jail on the charge of murdering two American tourists. The court concluded that the 78-year-old will be set free as he had already completed 95 per cent of his jail term.
In the verdict delivered on Wednesday evening, Supreme Court said, "The regulation on prison management envisions a waiver of up to 75 per cent of the jail term of the prisoners over 65 years of age and with good conduct."
Sobhraj's lawyers had long been demanding the court's intervention for clemency. In different petitions, they had demanded a waiver of his jail sentence, citing provisions of Clause 12 (1) of the Senior Citizens Act 2063. The court has now ordered the government to make arrangements for repatriating Sobhraj to his home country within 15 days.
"Kept in prison here at Central Jail for a long time, the French national Charles Sobhraj has been ordered to be released by the Supreme Court on 21st December. We checked the records of Kathmandu and Bhaktapur District Court and have requested clearance from them over the cases registered against him. We are now preparing to release him from prison and then we will hand him over to the Department of Immigration. We will take him to the department after they finish their preparations," Ishwori Prasad Pandey, the Jailer at Central Jail in Kathmandu told reporters before Sobhraj underwent medical checkups.
The notorious criminal has also appealed to Nepal authorities to let him stay in a hotel and undergo open heart surgery at the Gangalal Heart Hospital in Kathmandu. But the authorities are yet to decide on it.
"I talked to Charles and told him that the media are waiting outside and want to talk. The jail authorities were also willing to let him talk but he (Charles) refused to speak to the media. Also, the talk about his treatment at Gangalal Hospital and his desire to stay at the hotel till the time of deportation is also under consideration and talks are underway with the Home Ministry and Department of Prison Management whose decision also would come tomorrow. All these things would be decided tomorrow (Friday).
The notorious criminal with police cases in different countries was convicted of killing the American citizen Connie Jo Boronzich, 29, and his Canadian girlfriend Laurent Carriere, 26, in 1975.
Arrested on September 19, 2003, Sobhraj's lifetime imprisonment would end on September 18 next year. The French citizen with Vietnamese and Indian parentage committed a string of murders throughout Asia in the 1970s. Sobhraj, who has been implicated in more than 20 killings, served 21 years in India for poisoning a French tourist and killing an Israeli national.
Sobhraj was also awarded a 20-year jail term in 2014 after being found guilty of a second murder, of a Canadian tourist Laurent Carriere, who was killed in 1975. The French serial killer was arrested in 2004 after he was first spotted in a Kathmandu casino.