© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: French serial killer Charles Sobhraj leaves Kathmandu district court after his hearing in Kathmandu May 31, 2011. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
By Gopal Sharma
KATHMANDU (Reuters) -Charles Sobhraj, a convicted killer who police suspect was responsible for a string of murders in the 1970s and 1980s, will be freed from a prison in Nepal on Friday after nearly 20 years, a jail official told Reuters.
Sobhraj, 78, a French national, is suspected of killing more than 20 Western backpackers on the “hippie trail” through Asia, usually by drugging their food or drink in the course of robbing them.
Nepal’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered his release from prison, where he has served 19 years of his 20-year sentence, citing his age.
“We will release him and take him to the Department of Immigration tomorrow morning,” said Ishwari Prasad Pandey, a jailor at the Central Jail in Kathmandu, where Sobhraj has been held since 2003.