French serial killer Charles Sobhraj (center) sits in an aircraft departing from Kathmandu to France, on December 23, 2022. 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 Credit: AFP
Notorious serial killer Charles Sobhraja Frenchman of Indian and Vietnamese parentage, was deported to France on Friday, hours after being released from a prison here where he served most of his sentence for a string of murders of backpackers across Asia in the 1970s.
Sobhraj, 78, was released from the Central Jail in Kathmandu and handed over to the immigration authorities to process his travel documents, officials said, two days after the Supreme Court ordered that he be released and deported to his home country.
Fanindra Mani Pokharel, joint secretary and spokesperson of the Ministry of Home Affairs, said Sobhraj will be barred from entering Nepal for the next ten years.
“The Home Ministry has deported Charles Sobhraj, barring him from entering Nepal for the next ten years,” Pokharel was quoted as saying by The Kathmandu Post newspaper.
Sobhraj will first fly to Doha and then to Paris on Qatar Airways flight QR647.
Nicknamed “the Bikini Killer” and “the Serpent” due to his skill at deception and evasion, Sobhraj was serving a life-term in the Kathmandu jail since 2003 for the murder of American woman Connie Jo Bronzich in 1975 in Nepal.
A joint Bench of Justices Sapana Pradhan Malla and Tilak Prasad Shrestha on Wednesday ordered to free 78-year-old Sobhraj from jail.
His release was delayed by a day as the immigration authorities on Thursday requested to postpone his release until Friday citing lack of space to accommodate him.
French serial killer Charles Sobhraj (center) is escorted by Nepalese police at a district court for a hearing on a case related to the murder of Canadian backpacker Laurent Ormond Carriere, in Bhaktapur. File | Photo Credit: AFP
“Although everything has been cleared for his release from jail, he has to be handed over to the Immigration Department. The immigration authorities have requested to postpone his release until Friday as they need preparation for his accommodation,” said his lawyer Gopal Shivakoti Chintan.
The apex court had ordered the government to deport him to the country that issued him a passport within 15 days, unless he is wanted in some other case.
The court ordered Sobhraj, who had heart surgery in 2017, should be released on health grounds after serving more than three-quarters of his sentence for murdering two North Americans in Nepal in the 1970s.
A French foreign affairs ministry spokesman told AFP on Thursday that its embassy in Nepal was monitoring the situation.
“If a request for expulsion is notified to them, France would be required to grant it since Sobhraj is a French national.”
(With inputs from Agencies)