Nepal deports Charles Sobhraj to France

Kathmandu: Nepal government on Friday evening deported serial killer Charles Sobhraj to France after his release from jail and obtaining the necessary immigration clearance.

Sobhraj (78), also known as ‘Bikini Killer’ and ‘The Serpent’, was freed from jail on Friday afternoon as per the order of the Supreme Court of Nepal.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ordered the release of Sobhraj for different reasons. Huge security deployment was ensured at the time of his deportation at the Tribhuvan International Airport here on Friday evening. He was deported on the condition of not returning to Nepal for another 10 years, said Nepal’s Department of Immigration.

The government had issued a travel document ahead of his deportation as he lacks a valid passport. Sobhraj left on a regular Qatar Airlines flight, and will reach Paris after a stopover in Doha.

Hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by Sobhraj, a joint bench of Justices Sapana Pradhan Malla and Til Prasad Shrestha had ordered his release on Wednesday, stating that he need not be jailed for another case, adding that arrangements be made to return the French citizen back to his country within 15 days.

Sobhraj spent 19 years and two months in the central jail in Kathmandu. Though he was supposed to be released on Thursday, due to some internal process, including documentation and others at the immigration department, his release was only possible on Friday afternoon, according to officials.

Sbobhraj was wanted in Nepal for the 1975 murders of Canadian Laddie DuParr and an American woman named Annabella Tremont, both of whom he had befriended in Kathmandu. Nepal police arrested Sobhraj in September 2003 from a five-star hotel in Kathmandu.

In March 1986, he had escaped from the Tihar Jail in Delhi after it looked likely he would be extradited to Thailand to face charges of murdering six girls, all wearing bikinis, on a beach in Pattaya. He was later re-arrested in Goa in April 1986. After his release from prison in 1997, he was known to have been living quietly in France.

Sobhraj argued in his petition that he has already served 19 years in jail and that is 78 years old.

Kathmandu and Bhaktapur district courts in Nepal had found him guilty of the murder of American and Canadian citizens in 1975.

The Supreme Court in 2010 had endorsed the life sentence slapped on him by the Kathmandu district court. In 2014, the Bhaktapur district court then sentenced him for the murder of a Canadian national.

Sobhraj repeatedly filed writ petitions at the Supreme Court, demanding he gets the leniency that senior citizens over 70 years get for release from prison. He sent such applications, especially around the Constitution Day, Democracy Day and Republic Day, hoping for a presidential pardon.

Yet, the court had rejected all his writ petitions. He had also undergone a heart surgery.

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