Sobhraj's lawyer seeks quick trial

Updated on Feb 11, 2008 01:11 PM IST
With his new trial scheduled to start from Wednesday, a grim Charles Sobhraj's firebrand lawyer has asked Nepal's top judge to give him "immediate attention" and a "quick release".
HT Image
HT Image
IANS | BySudeshna Sarkar, Kathmandu

With his new trial scheduled to start from Wednesday, a grim Charles Sobhraj's firebrand lawyer has asked Nepal's top judge to give him "immediate attention" and a "quick release".

Paris-based maverick lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, who earlier wrote to Nepal's King Gyanendra and, recently, to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, saying her client was the victim of prejudice and trumped-up charges, has now sent her plea to Nepal's Chief Justice Kedar Prasad Giri.

Coutant-Peyre says Sobhraj, who was slapped with a life term in Nepal for the murder of an American tourist in 1975, is innocent.

According to her, though there was no evidence, Sobhraj was found guilty due to his reputation in the 1970s.

She also points out that the 64-year-old has been tried for four years in Nepali, a language he doesn't know, without being provided with an interpreter.

Coutant-Peyre has also told the judge that Sobhraj's trial, which was often delayed due to holidays and clerical errors, violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, that says nobody can be sentenced unless proven guilty through material and concrete evidence, and that judicial proceedings would take place within a "reasonable time limit".

The lawyer's concern comes after Sobhraj, who has been fighting the 20-year jail term from 2004 was told by court the final hearing would be announced in December but the judges hearing his final appeal in the Supreme Court instead decided to re-open a fake passport case against him that in the past had already been dismissed by two lower courts.

Sobhraj says he doesn't mind if the apex court finds him guilty but he wants a quick trial. If he loses the final appeal, he is ready to fight it in the International Court of Justice.

Last year he threatened to go on a hunger strike if the fresh trial date was not issued soon. He had his way with the court setting the new trial date for February 13. However, it remains to be seen if the trial will actually start on the scheduled date.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. (File Photo)

    Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla tests positive for Covid with mild symptoms

    Pfizer Inc. Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said Bourla tested positive for Covid-19 and is receiving Paxlovid, the treatment made by his company. Bourla said he's feeling well although experiencing very mild symptoms, according to a statement Monday. Bourla said he is “isolating in place as well as following all public health precautions” and that he's confident of a speedy recovery. The New York-based drugmaker declined to comment beyond Bourla's statement.

  • Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (fourth from right) chat with the members of a delegation of US Congress during a meeting at the Presidential Office in Taipei, on Monday. (AP)

    China holds more military drills as US lawmakers meet Taiwanese president

    China has carried out fresh military drills near self-governed Taiwan in response to the ongoing visit of US lawmakers to the island as high tension, sparked earlier this month by the visit of US House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to Taipei, continues in the Taiwan Strait. China claims Taiwan as part of its territory and says official ties between the island and another country is a violation of the mainland's sovereignty.

  • The logo of Swedish retailer Ikea (L). (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP)

    Ikea shoppers in Shanghai panic after security locks down store on Covid risk

    Health authorities in the financial hub said that they imposed “temporary control measures” at the store, after they found out that a close contact of a 6-year-old boy with an asymptomatic Covid infection had been there. They didn’t say when the close contact was in the store.

  • A Myanmar court convicted Suu Kyi in more corruption cases on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022, adding six years to prison sentence. (File)

    Deposed Myanmar leader Suu Kyi sentenced to 6 more years in prison

    Myanmar's deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced to six more years in prison on Monday in a judgment that could further anger supporters of the 77-year-old Nobel peace prize laureate. It's the fourth round of criminal verdicts against Suu Kyi since the military seized power in a 2021 coup and brings her total jail term to 17 years, extinguishing any chance of her staging a political comeback while the junta remain in power.

  • A Taliban fighter stands guard on a bridge in Kabul, Afghanistan, 

    On completion of one year in power, Taliban says, “This day is the day of…”

    The Taliban marked a year in power on Monday with small-scale celebrations by the group's fighters as Afghanistan struggles with rising poverty, drought, malnutrition and fading hope among women that they will have a decisive role in the country's future. "This day is the day of the victory of truth over falsehood and the day of salvation and freedom of the Afghan nation," said Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid in a statement.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, August 15, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now