A FRENCH serial killer portrayed in the hit TV series “The Serpent” is set to be released from prison despite being linked to 20 murders.
Charles Sobhraj was ordered to return to France within 15 days after spending 19 years behind bars for killing two tourists in Kathmandu in 1975.
Sobhraj is linked to the deaths of 24 other people, mostly tourists, between the 1970s and 1980s.
He claims to have killed at least 20 young Westerners traveling in Asia by drugging their food or drink.
But his conviction in 2004 for the deaths of American Connie Jo Bronzich and her Canadian tourist friend Laurent Career was the first time he had been convicted in court.
The killer’s release was agreed after his lawyers applied to Nepal’s Supreme Court for a concession.
They argued that he should be released because of his age and good character.
Nepal has provisions where life imprisonment lasts 20 years for those who serve 75% of their sentences and show good behaviour.
The verdict stated: “His permanent detention in prison is not in line with the human rights of the prisoner.
“If no other cases are brought against him to keep him in prison, this court will order his release today and return to his country within 15 days,”
He could be back on the streets as early as Thursday.
Although Sobhraj’s crimes reached a deadly peak in the 1970s, that was just the tip of the iceberg as he robbed, cheated, drugged and seduced around the world in a desperate search for danger.
He once admitted: “When it gets hot, I go to the kitchen.”
However, whenever things came to a head, Sobhraj eluded the authorities so much that he was branded The Serpent, a nickname that was used as the title for a BBC1 TV show that chronicled his worst crimes.
The drama follows a real life assassin and his reign of terror as he murdered countless travelers in Thailand, Nepal and India in the 1970s by drugging them and often stealing their identities.
Tahar Rahim plays the role of Sobhraj and Billy Hole plays the Dutch diplomat Herman Knippenberg, who ultimately helped him incarcerate him.
Marie-André Leclerc, the tragic French-Canadian he brainwashed into helping him, is portrayed by Jenna Coleman, who described her character as “deluded”.
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