PARIS (Reuters) – Nepal’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the release of Charles Sobhraj, a French national known as the “Bikini Killer” who police say was active during the 1970s and 1980s. Responsible for the murder of over 20 young Western backpackers across Asia.
Some facts about Sobhraj are as follows:
* 78 year old Sobhraj was born to an Indian father and Vietnamese mother. Aides have described him as a con artist, a traitor, an outlaw and a murderer.
* Thailand issued a warrant for Sobhraj’s arrest in the mid-1970s, accusing him of drugging and killing six bikini-clad women on a beach in Pattaya.
However, he was jailed in India before he could stand trial on those charges.
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* Sobhraj was sentenced to 21 years in prison in India on charges of murder. After his escape from prison in the mid-1980s, he earned another nickname, “Naagin”, adept at changing his appearance. He was caught and returned to prison until 1997.
* Sobhraj returned to France after his release in India. In 2003 he was arrested at a casino in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, and convicted of the murder of American backpacker Connie Jo Bronzich.
Sobhraj denied killing the American woman, whose body was found in a wheat field near Nepal’s capital. His lawyers said that the charge against him was based on assumption.
Several years later he was also convicted of the murder of Laurent Carrière, a Canadian friend of Bronzich’s.
He was lodged in a high-security prison in Kathmandu since 2003.
* Sobhraj’s alleged crimes across Asia have spawned books and at least one film. Last year, the BBC and Netflix jointly produced a series dramatizing his crimes.
* Nepal’s Supreme Court ordered his release because of his age. He had served 19 years out of his 20-year sentence.
(Editing by Richard Loff; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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