SC issues show cause to govt over Sobhraj’s plea for term waiver

Bhaktapur, November 6

The Supreme Court today issued a show cause notice to the government in response to a writ petition filed by murder convict Charles Sobhraj seeking waiver of his remaining jail sentence.

The Frenchman, who earned the nickname “bikini killer” for allegedly committing serial murders throughout Asia in the 1970s, was convicted in Nepal in two murder cases and has been in jail here since 2003.

The show cause notice was issued by a single bench of Justice Cholendra Shamsher JB Rana. Shobhraj had filed the petition on Monday from Jail Office, Jagannath Dewal.

In 2014, Sobhraj was sentenced to 20 years in jail for the 1975 murder in Kathmandu of Canadian tourist Laurent Carriere. In 2004, he was sentenced to a life in Nepal for murdering American tourist Connie Jo Bronzich. Shobhraj, 75, had undergone  open heart surgery last year.

His advocate Shakuntala Thapa said her client was suffering from heart ailment, had gone heart surgery last year and needed to undergo second heart surgery. She said her client qualified for waiver of his remaining jail sentence due to his age and his health condition. She said Shobhraj was on life saving medication and his heart condition qualified him for waiver of jail sentence as per existing rules of waiver of sentence.   She said the constitution treated all people equally and his client should not be discriminated against on the issue of waiver of his remaining jail sentence.

Shobhraj was arrested in Kathmandu after his picture was printed on THT’s front page. Shobhraj had spent time in Indian jail also.

Senior Citizen Act, 2006 provisions for waiver of senior citizens’ jail sentence. The act says that senior citizens can get waiver of sentence not exceeding 50 percent in the case of the senior citizen who has completed the age of 70 years, but not crossed the age of 75 years. The Senior Citizen Act also stipulates that notwithstanding anything contained in the prevailing laws, the court may, in view of the gravity of offence, order to hold an incompetent senior citizen or a senior citizen having completed the age of 75 years who has been sentenced to imprisonment in a care centre not in a prison.