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Free me immediately, says Sobhraj

“Bikini killer” Charles Sobhraj is getting hopes to lead the life of a law-abiding citizen with his wife and daughter in Paris soon, reports Anirban Roy.
Hindustan Times | By Anirban Roy, Kathmandu
UPDATED ON MAR 13, 2008 11:17 PM IST

“Bikini killer” Charles Sobhraj is getting hopes to lead the life of a law-abiding citizen with his wife and daughter in Paris soon.

Also called “The Serpent”, Sobhraj was arrested at Kathmandu in September 2003 on charges of murdering American Connie Jo Bronzich and Canadian Laurent Ormond Carriere in 1975.

As his next hearing in a case of passport forgery comes up at Nepal’s supreme court on Sunday, Sobhraj is building pressure for his release. “I want to be out of this jail immediately, and be with my family in Paris,” the 64-year-old told HT on Thursday at Kathmandu’s Central Jail.

“They (the prosecution) do not have any strong case against me, and I should be released immediately,” Sobhraj said. “I am quite old now, and I would like to be with my family.”

Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, his Paris-based lawyer, who is also a human rights activist, is scheduled to reach Kathmandu on Saturday for the “final push” for Sobhraj’s immediate release.

Sobhraj claimed he had never been to Kathmandu before September 2003.

Interestingly, Sobhraj said life in Tihar jail was much better than that in Kathmandu’s Central Jail. “The living conditions are really bad here,” he said, adding that during his long stay in the jail, he always had his food from outside.

“Can you imagine that during the last four-and-half years in the jail here, I have been drinking, bathing and washing my clothes with packaged drinking water,” Sobhraj said. “People would die if they are forced to drink the jail water.”

The “bikini killer” claimed he would love to go again and again to India as it has always fascinated him. “I would like to visit Pune as my sisters are based there,” he said.

Earlier, Sobhraj had threatened to start a fast-unto-death if his release was delayed any further. It was earlier reported the apex court would announce the final hearing in Sobhraj’s twin murder case in December 2007. But, the court opened the fake passport case against him, which was earlier dismissed by lower courts. On December 24, 2007, Sobhraj had written a letter to the Supreme Court and the Nepal government to expedite his trial.

“I have come to the Supreme Court to ask for justice because I am innocent,” the letter said.

“I request you to convict me without any delay,” he added. “Who needs evidence and rule of law in Nepal?”

Sobhraj has been threatening to move the International Court of Justice. Coutant-Peyre has written to Nepal’s Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri asking for her client’s release. Earlier, she had written to King Gyanendra. It is believed that a similar letter has also been sent to French President Nicolas Sarkozy as Sobhraj is a French citizen.

Coutant-Peyre claimed Sobhraj’s trial has been delayed because of holidays and clerical errors. “It’s a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” she alleged.

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