French serial killer depicted in Netflix series “The Serpent” to break out of Nepal prison

Charles Sobhraj, the French serial killer who murdered at least a dozen Western tourists traveling in Asia in the 1970s, was released from prison by Nepal’s Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Sobhraj, who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in Nepal, was ordered to be released on the grounds of poor health, good behavior and having served most of his sentence.

French serial killer Charles Sobhraj is escorted by Nepalese police to a district court for a hearing in a case related to the murder of Canadian backpacker Laurent Ormond Carriere, in Bhaktapur on June 12, 2014.

French serial killer Charles Sobhraj is escorted by Nepalese police to a district court for a hearing in a case related to the murder of Canadian backpacker Laurent Ormond Carriere, in Bhaktapur on June 12, 2014.
(PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP via Getty Images)

The Court’s ruling said Sobhraj said he had to leave Nepal in the next 15 days, but did not specify where. He was serving two life sentences in Nepal for the murders of an American and Canadian backpacker. Life sentences in Nepal are 20 years.

The court document said he had already served more than 75% of his sentence and was eligible for release and that he suffered from a heart condition.

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It was unclear when he would be released from prison as a free man, but likely in the next few days.

The Frenchman has admitted in the past to killing several Western tourists, and is believed to have killed at least 20 people in Afghanistan, India, Thailand, Turkey, Nepal, Iran and Hong Kong during the 1970s. However, his 2004 conviction in Nepal was the first time he was found guilty in court.

This photo taken on May 20, 2021 shows the apartments at Baan Bellawin, home to parts of the TV series "The Serpent" was shot, in Bangkok.

This photo taken on May 20, 2021 shows the apartments at Baan Bellawin, where parts of the TV series “The Serpent” were filmed, in Bangkok.
(LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images)

Sobhraj was held for two decades in New Delhi’s Tihar maximum security prison on suspicion of robbery, but was deported without charge to France in 1997. He resurfaced in September 2003 in Kathmandu.

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Sobhraj’s nickname, The Serpent, comes from his reputation as a talented escape and disguise artist. His crimes were depicted in the 2021 Netflix series “The Serpent” starring Tahar Rahim and Jenna Coleman.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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