KATHMANDU, Nepal ( Associated Press) — French serial killer Charles Sobhraj was released in Nepal on Friday after serving most of his sentence for killing American and Canadian backpackers, and was escorted to the airport to fly to Paris, the lawyer in his office said.
Sobhraj has confessed to the murder of several western tourists. He is believed to have killed at least 20 people in Afghanistan, India, Thailand, Turkey, Nepal, Iran and Hong Kong in the 1970s. His 2004 conviction in Nepal was his first in court.
The murders were the subject of a BBC-Netflix co-production “The Serpent” series that aired last year. His nickname is derived from his ability to disguise himself and run away.
The ticket was bought by a friend, and the French embassy in Kathmandu prepared travel documents for her to board the flight on Friday night, said lawyer Gopal Sivakoti Chithan.
A heavily guarded police convoy took Sobhraj from the Kathmandu Central Jail to the Immigration Department.
Sobhraj was serving a life sentence, but the Supreme Court ordered his release due to poor health, good conduct and having served more than 75% of the sentence. The court said that Sobhraj is suffering from heart disease.
Life imprisonment in Nepal is 20 years.
The court also gave him 15 days to leave the country.
Earlier, Sobhraj was held in New Delhi’s Tihar maximum security prison for two decades on suspicion of dacoity, until he was extradited to France in 1997 without charge. He reappeared in Kathmandu in September 2003.
French officials have not made a public statement about his return.