French Serial Killer freed by Nepal’s court

by Subhechcha Ganguly

After nearly 20 years in a high-security prison in Nepal, convicted killer Charles Gurumukh Sobhraj Hotchand Bhawnani, 78, is scheduled to be released on Thursday. He is suspected of killing more than 50 Western backpackers while hot on his trail along the “hippie trail” through South Asia, including Thailand, India, Iran, France, and Sri Lanka. Usually, he did this by drugging their food or drink while robbing the victims.

He was referred to as “the Bikini Killer,” “the Splitting Killer,” and “the Serpent” because to “his snake-like abilities to elude identification by authorities,” as well as the clothing worn by a number of his victims. In India, he was found guilty and imprisoned from 1976 to 1997. He retired after being freed and spread his notoriety in Paris. According to a copy of the ruling obtained by news agency AFP, the Supreme Court said Sobhraj, 78, who has been imprisoned in the Himalayan republic since 2003 for the murder of two North American tourists, could be released on medical grounds.

Following his imprisonment in July 1976, Sobhraj served time in India’s infamous prison, Tihar Jail in New Delhi, before spending time in Kathmandu jail. When the slick and charismatic killer escaped from prison in 1986 and started one of the largest manhunts in India, he gained even more reputation and demonstrated his cunning and deceitful abilities.In a later interview, he explained that the escape was a plot to lengthen his sentence and prevent his extradition to Thailand, where he was sought for five other killings. But today, after Sobhraj’s legal team successfully petitioned for a reduction in his sentence due to his age, 78, and good behaviour, the Nepalese Supreme Court ordered his release on Wednesday. A clause in Nepalese law permits the release of prisoners who have demonstrated excellent moral character and served 75% of their sentence term.

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