Charles Sobhraj, the French serial killer who murdered at least a dozen western tourists traveling through Asia in the 1970s, was ordered 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 because of poor health, good behavior and having already served most of his sentence.
The Court’s ruling said Sobhraj said he had to leave Nepal within the next 15 days but did not specify to where. He was serving two life sentences in Nepal for the murders of an American and Canadian backpackers. Life sentences in Nepal are 20 years.
The court document said he had already served more than 75% of his sentence making his eligible for release and was suffering from heart disease.
It was not clear when he would actually walk out of the prison as a free man but likely within the next few days.
The Frenchman has in the past admitted killing several Western tourists, and he 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.
Sobhraj was held for two decades in New Delhi’s maximum-security Tihar prison on suspicion of theft but was deported without charge to France in 1997. He resurfaced in September 2003 in Katmandu.
Sobhraj’s nickname, The Serpent, stems from his reputation as a talented disguise and escape 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.