'Serpent' serial killer expected to be released in Nepal
The serial killer who inspired the Netflix series "The Serpent" is being released from prison.
French serial killer Charles Sobhraj, who committed a series of murders across Asia in the 1970s and was portrayed in the Netflix series "The Serpent", is expected to be released from prison in Nepal on Thursday.
Sobhraj, 78, who has been imprisoned in Nepal's top court since 2003 for two murders committed in the 1970s, will be released early for health-related reasons, the court said on Wednesday.
Prison officials told AFP that after receiving the relevant court papers, they would hand Sobhraj over to immigration authorities. The court ordered that he be deported within 15 days.
The ruling also stated that Sobhraj required open heart surgery in 2017 and that his release was consistent with the statute that permits bedridden inmates who have already completed three-quarters of their term to be released on humanitarian grounds.
Sobhraj left France in the early 1970s and eventually ended up in Bangkok, Thailand. Posing as a gem trader, he would befriend his victims, many of them Western backpackers on the 1970s hippie trail, before drugging, robbing and murdering them.
"He despised backpackers, he saw them as poor young drug addicts," Australian journalist Julie Clarke, who interviewed Sobhraj, told AFP in 2021.
"He considered himself a criminal hero."
Sobhraj was accused of his first murder, a young American woman whose body was discovered on a beach in a bikini, in 1975. He subsequently gained the moniker "bikini killer" and was implicated in over 20 homicides.
Sobhraj's other sobriquet, "The Serpent", came from his ability to assume other identities to evade justice.
It became the title of a hit series made by the BBC and Netflix that was based on his life.