KATHMANDU: The order of the Nepal Supreme Court setting serial killer Charles Sobhraj free is based on a legal provision in that country which says that prisoners who have completed 75% of their jail term and showed good character during imprisonment can be released.
Sobhraj through his petition had claimed that he had completed his jail term as per the “concessions” entitled to senior citizens of Nepal. He claimed that he had already served 17 of the 20 years of his sentence and had been recommended for release for behaving well.
“He had already served 95% of his jail term and should have released earlier due to his age,” Sobhraj’s laywer Ram Bandhu Sharma said, adding that Sobhraj could be released from prison by Thursday.
Sobhraj was spotted in a Kathmandu casino in August 2003 and arrested. He was slapped with a life sentence for the murder after a trial.
He had been linked to multiple killings of backpackers. Sobhraj spent 21 years in jail in India with a brief 22-day break in 1986 when he escaped the high-security Tihar Jail after drugging security guards, whom he had served sweets on the pretext of celebrating his birthday.
Sobhraj, who spoke several languages, is believed to have killed 15 to 20 people in 1970s. He mainly befriended western tourists in Asia, later drugging and killing them mostly between 1972 and 1976.
Thailand had issued a warrant for his arrest in the mid-1970s on charges of drugging and killing six women, all wearing bikinis, on a beach at Pattaya.
After a troubled childhood and several prison terms in France for petty crimes, he began travelling the world in the early 1970s, befriending and robbing young backpackers as he made his way along the drug-fuelled Hippie Trail from Europe to Southeast Asia.
He eventually arrived in Thailand, where he was implicated in his first murder, that of a young American woman whose body was found on a beach in Pattaya in 1975. “He was cultured, courteous,” said Nadine Gires, who befriended Sobhraj when he moved into her Bangkok apartment building that year.
But she soon began to fear her fast-talking neighbour, who masqueraded as a gemstone trader to lure cash-strapped travellers before drugging, robbing and killing them.
“Many people were getting sick in his home,” she told a news agency last year. “He was not only a swindler, a seducer, a robber of tourists, but an evil murderer.”
(Inputs from agencies)





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