Charles Sobhraj, the notorious French serial killer of Indian and Vietnamese parentage, was deported to France on Friday, hours after being released from a prison here where he served most of his sentence for a string of murders across Asia in the 1970s.
Sobhraj, 78, was released from the Central Jail in Kathmandu on Friday morning and taken in a heavily guarded police convoy to the Department of Immigration. His release came two days after the Supreme Court ordered that he be freed and deported to his home country.
The immigration department of Nepal and the French embassy here collaborated in preparing the travel documents of Sobhraj.
Sobhraj had to pay fees and fines amounting to Rs 70,000 for the immigration violations and for his travel documents, his lawyers said.
According to Sudesh Subedi, one of Sobhraj's lawyers, told PTI that his mother and daughter were waiting for his arrival in Paris.
Fanindra Mani Pokharel, the joint secretary and spokesperson of the Ministry of Home Affairs, said Sobhraj will be barred from entering Nepal for the next ten years.
“The home ministry has deported Charles Sobhraj, barring him from entering Nepal for the next ten years,” Pokharel was quoted as saying by The Kathmandu Post newspaper.
Sobhraj flew to Doha on Qatar Airways flight QR647 and will then leave for Paris.
Although his so-called spouse Nihita Bishwas, whom he reportedly married in the jail in 2008, was present at the immigration office, she was not allowed to meet Sobhraj.
Sobhraj arranged money online for his air ticket.
Earlier, his lawyer Gopal Shivakoti Chintan told PTI that Sobhraj was taken to Tribhuvan International Airport here to be deported to France. He was taken in three police vans to the airport at around 5 pm and one hour later he flew to Doha on way to Paris.
Media reports here said that he wanted to stay in Nepal and requested that he be admitted to the Gangalal Hospital for treatment for ten days. He had heart surgery there in 2017.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court directed the prison management authority to free the notorious killer, and deport him to France within 15 days through immigration, unless he is wanted in some other case.
A division bench of justices Sapana Pradhan Malla and Til Prasad Shrestha who had asked the government to arrange for his repatriation to France, concluded that Sobhraj should be freed as he has already completed 95 per cent of his jail term.
His release was delayed by a day as the immigration authorities on Thursday requested to postpone his release till Friday citing a lack of space to accommodate him.
Dubbed "the Bikini Killer" for his proclivity to target young women, particularly young western backpackers, and "the Serpent" for his skill at deception and evasion, Sobhraj was serving a life-term in the Kathmandu jail since 2003 for the murder of his American girl friend Connie Jo Bronzich, 29, in 1975 in Nepal.
In 2014, he was convicted of killing Laurent Carriere, a 26-year-old Canadian backpacker, and given a second life sentence.
Arrested on September 19, 2003, Sobhraj’s lifetime imprisonment would have ended on September 18 next year. Sobhraj, who committed a string of murders across Asia in the 1970s, has been implicated in more than 20 killings, and served 21 years in prison in India for poisoning a French tourist and killing an Israeli national.
A life-term in Nepal means 20 years in jail.
The order by the division bench of Nepal's top court came after Sobhraj filed a plea claiming that he was put in prison for more than the period recommended for him.
There is a legal provision to release prisoners who have completed 75 per cent jail term and showed good character during imprisonment.
Sobhraj, through his petition, claimed that he had completed his jail term as per the ‘concessions’ entitled to senior citizens of Nepal.
He claimed that he had already served 19 of the 20 years of his sentence and had already been recommended for release for good behaviour.
Sobhraj was spotted in a Kathmandu casino in August 2003 and arrested. He was slapped with a life sentence for the murder after a trial.
He had been linked to multiple killings of backpackers.