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Verdict on 'bikini killer' Charles Sobhraj put off

Source: PTI
July 14, 2010 17:53 IST
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Nepal's apex court on Wednesday put off for two weeks its verdict in a murder case against Indian- origin 'bikini killer' Charles Sobhraj, saying it needed more time to pronounce the final judgment in the matter.

A division bench of Justices Ram Kumar Prasad Shah and Gauri Dhakal said the verdict would be pronounced on July 30 against the notorious criminal linked to series of backpacker killings of tourists across Asia.

This was the third time that the apex court has put off its final verdict in the high-profile case. The alleged international serial killer has been behind bars for almost seven years on a murder charge in Kathmandu.

Sobhraj, 66, is currently serving a 20-year life sentence for the murder of American backpacker Connie Joe Bronzich in 1975. The US national had been stabbed repeatedly, burnt beyond recognition and her body dumped on the outskirts of the Nepalese capital.

Sobhraj, who is now a French national, was arrested in Kathmandu during his second visit here in 2003, and was convicted  by the Kathmandu District Court in 2004, a judgement later upheld by the Patan Appellate Court in 2005. He moved the apex court in 2006 challenging the lower courts' verdicts.

Sobhraj was picked up from Kathmandu's Royale Casino in 2003 on charges of travelling on fake passport and later convicted for murder of the backpacker.

Sobharj claims that he has not visited Nepal before 2003 and denies having committed any crime.

Born to a Vietnamese mother and Indian father, he had previously been convicted in India and had served 21-years in prison for culpable homicide. After his release he returned to live in France.

Sobhraj has another case pending against him of the murder of a Canadian tourist Laurent Armound Carriere in the Bhaktapur district court.

His trial has attracted international media attention, particularly after he announced his engagement and marriage to Nepalese teenager Nihita Biswas in 2008, while inside prison.

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