July 23, 2024

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French serial killer Charles Sobraj acquitted

French serial killer Charles Sobraj acquitted

A man nicknamed “Sarpan” who is imprisoned in Nepal needs to be released from prison for health reasons.

Charles Soubraj, a French serial killer who carried out a string of murders in Asia in the 1970s, inspired the Netflix series. SnakeHe was due to be released from a jail in Nepal on Thursday. Marie-Andre Leclerc, Lewis’s medical secretary, was his accomplice.

The Supreme Court has ruled that 78-year-old Charles Sobraj, who has been jailed in the Himalayan republic since 2003 for killing two North American tourists, should be released on health grounds.

Prison officials told AFP they would hand him over to immigration after receiving court documents. The court ordered to evict him within 15 days.

For its part, the French Foreign Ministry said it had not yet received an official request from the Nepalese authorities to expel Charles Sopraj, but France would welcome it if necessary.

A spokesman for the ministry explained that if such a request is “communicated” to it, “France will have to grant it as Mr. Sobhraj is a French citizen.”

The court said the serial killer required open-heart surgery and his release allowed the release of bedridden prisoners who had already served three-quarters of their sentences under Nepalese law.


A French citizen of Vietnamese and Indian descent, Charles Soubraj began traveling the world in the early 1970s and found himself in the Thai capital of Bangkok.

Posing as a gem dealer, he befriends his victims, mostly Western backpackers on the trail of 1970s hippies, before drugging, robbing and murdering them.

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“He hated backpackers, poor young drug addicts. He saw himself as a criminal hero,” Australian journalist Julie Clarke, who interviewed him, told AFP in 2021.

In 1975, he met Quebecer Marie-Andre Leclerc from Lévis on a tourist trip to India.

Photo Archives Associated Press

Marie-Andre Leclerc, following her release in July 1978 in New Delhi

That same year, the couple met a young American whose body was found in a bikini on the beach. This was Sopraj’s first kill.

Nicknamed the “Bikini Killer,” this suave and sophisticated man was eventually linked to more than 20 murders. Another of his nicknames, “The Serpent”, comes from his ability to assume other identities to escape justice.

It became the subject of a hit series produced by the BBC and Netflix inspired by his life.

“Croc, Enchanter, Thief”

He was arrested in India in 1976 and eventually spent 21 years in prison, with a brief respite in 1986 when he escaped before being arrested again in the Indian coastal state of Goa.

Released in 1997, he retired to Paris, but reappeared in Nepal in 2003, where he was spotted in the tourist district of Kathmandu and arrested.

The following year, a court sentenced him to life in prison for the 1975 murder of American tourist Connie Jo Broncich. Ten years later, he was also convicted of murdering Mrs.me French.

To this day, Marie-Andrée Leclerc’s involvement in the crimes remains unclear. Québéser was accused of complicity in two murders in India, Jean-Luc Salomon – for which he was acquitted – and Avoni Jacob.

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In 1980, she and Chopraj were convicted of the second murder. Marie-Andre Leclerc appealed the verdict, but died shortly after of ovarian cancer.

Behind bars, Charles Sobhraj has maintained his innocence of both murders, saying he had never been to Nepal before the trip that led to his arrest.

“I don’t really, I think I’m going to leave,” he told AFP in a 2007 interview at Kathmandu Central Prison.

Nadine Cress, a French woman who lived in the same building as Charles Sobraj in Bangkok, told AFP last year that she found him a “cultured” and engaging character.

But in the end, “he is a trickster, a seducer, a thief of tourists, but a brutal murderer”.

Thai police officer Sombol Suthimai, who helped Interpol arrest Charles Sopraj in 1976, pressured him to be extradited to Thailand and tried for his murders there.

But on Thursday, he told AFP he had no objection to his release because he and the criminal he once prosecuted were now too old.

Sombol Suthimai, now 90, says, “It has been so long. “I think he has already paid for his actions. »