PARIS ( Associated Press) – A man suspected of killing at least 20 tourists in Asia in the 1970s arrived in Paris on Saturday after being released from Nepal, where he was serving a life sentence.
Charles Sobhraj, aka “The Snake,” arrived at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport and shortly thereafter told the Associated Press, “I’m fine, I’m happy, let’s go to lunch.”
It’s the most recent turn in the dramatic life of a man chronicled in a series co-produced by the BBC and Netflix called “The Serpent.” Sobhraj has confessed to killing Western tourists in Asia in the past.
Sobhraj, a 78-year-old French national, was jailed for the deaths of American and Canadian backpackers in Nepal in 1975, but was released on Friday for his health and other reasons.
His lawyer, Isabelle Cotent-Peyre, told the Associated Press that Sobhraj would seek to overturn his sentence in Nepal, describing him as “optimistic” and resilient after nearly 20 years behind bars.
French filmmaker Jean-Charles Deniau, who escorted Sobhraj to Paris airport and is set to publish a book and film about his life, declared: “He is fine, he has medicine. He Will be in Paris, and little else.
The French government did not respond to requests for comment on whether Sobhraj would stand trial in France. Sobhraj was born in Vietnam during the French colonial era and claims French citizenship.
He is suspected of having killed at least 20 people between 1972 and 1982 in Afghanistan, India, Thailand, Turkey, Nepal, Iran and Hong Kong.
But despite several court cases against him, authorities in various countries in the region have had difficulty prosecuting him and keeping him behind bars.