PARIS – Charles Sobhraj, a convicted serial killer nicknamed “the Serpent” who was suspected in the deaths of at least 20 tourists in Asia during the 1970s, arrived in Paris on Saturday, a day after he was released from a prison in Nepal.
Sobhraj, 78, a French citizen, had been serving a life sentence for the deaths of U.S. and Canadian backpackers in 1975, the BBC reported. He was released from prison Friday for health and other reasons and was deported to France, according to The Associated Press. Nepal’s supreme court ordered the release on Wednesday, The Guardian reported.
“I’m fine, I’m glad” to be in France, Sobhraj told the AP in a brief telephone conversation after arriving at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. “We are going to have lunch.”
Sobhraj’s story was depicted in a series co-produced by the BBC and Netflix called “The Serpent,″ which aired last year, according to the AP. He was serving concurrent sentences of 20 years in Kathmandu for the murder of U.S. citizen Connie Jo Bronzich and her Canadian backpacker friend, Laurent Carriere, the BBC reported.
Sobhraj had been incarcerated in a high-security prison in Nepal since 2003 when he was arrested for Bronzich’s death, The Guardian reported. He was later found guilty of killing Carriere, Bronzich’s friend, and served 19 years of a 20-year sentence.
Sobhraj’s French attorney, Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, told the AP that her client will contest his conviction in Nepal, calling him an “optimist” and resilient.
The convicted killer is believed to have murdered at least 20 people in Afghanistan, India, Thailand, Turkey, Nepal, Iran and Hong Kong between 1972 and 1982, according to the news organization. Police said the victims were drugged, strangled, beaten or burned, the BBC reported.
He was jailed in India for poisoning a busload of French tourists in Delhi in 1976, The Guardian reported.
He earned his nickname for his penchant for deceptive disguises, his ability to escape prison and tendency to target young women, the BBC reported.
Sobhraj told the French news agency Agence-France Presse when he left Nepal that he was not guilty of murdering Bronzich and Carriere, adding that the cases against him were built on fake documents.
“I have a lot to do. I have to sue a lot of people,” Sobhraj told the news agency.
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