PARIS (HPD) — A man suspected of killing at least 20 tourists in Asia in the 1970s arrived in Paris on Saturday as a free man after being released from Nepal where he was serving a life sentence.
Charles Sobhraj, alias “The Snake,” arrived at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport and shortly thereafter told the HPD “I’m fine, I’m happy, let’s go to lunch.”
It is the most recent turn of the dramatic life of a man described in a series co-produced by the BBC and Netflix called “The Serpent”. In the past, Sobhraj has confessed to murdering Western tourists in Asia.
Sobhraj, a 78-year-old French national, was in jail for the 1975 deaths of American and Canadian backpackers in Nepal but was released on Friday for his health and other reasons.
His lawyer, Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, told the HPD that Sobhraj will seek to have his sentence overturned in Nepal, calling him “optimistic” and resilient after nearly 20 years behind bars.
French filmmaker Jean-Charles Deniau, who escorted Sobhraj at the Paris airport and is set to publish a book and film about his life, declared: “He is fine, he has his medicine. He will live in Paris, and a little elsewhere.
The French government did not respond to requests for comment on whether Sobhraj will stand trial in France. Sobhraj was born in Vietnam during the French colonial era and claims French citizenship.
He is suspected of killing at least 20 people in Afghanistan, India, Thailand, Turkey, Nepal, Iran and Hong Kong between 1972 and 1982.
But despite multiple court cases against him, authorities in various countries in the region had difficulty prosecuting him and keeping him behind bars.