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The French serial killer known as “The Serpent” proclaimed his innocence following his release from prison.
“I’ve used quite a few stolen passports, but I’ve never killed anyone, and I’ll prove it,” Charles Sobhraj, 78, told French newspaper Le Monde. “Right now, I’m running around everywhere trying to get my papers redone.”
Sobhraj left the Nepalese prison, where he was to serve out his 20-year sentence after the country’s Supreme Court ordered him freed due to poor health, good behavior and serving the majority of his time.
He allegedly killed at least 20 American and Canadian backpackers in Afghanistan, India, Thailand, Turkey, Nepal, Iran and Hong Kong during the 1970s. A Nepal court convicted him in 2004 and sentenced him to serve for life, which is only 20 years in the country.
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His crimes, including passport forgery, were featured in a Netflix series called “The Serpent,” which also aired on the BBC. The series included depictions of Sobhraj murdering his victims. Now that he has left prison, Sobhraj has hit a full media offensive trying to change the narrative, according to The Daily Mail.
French serial killer Charles Sobhraj, center, is brought to the district court for a hearing on a case related to the murder of Canadian backpacker Laurent Ormond Carriere, in Bhaktapur on May 26, 2014. Sobhraj, a French citizen who is serving a life sentence in Nepal for the murder of an American backbacker in 1975, has been linked with a string of killings across Asia in the 1970s, earning the nickname “bikini killer.” (Prakash Mathema/AFP via Getty Images)
His release and subsequent media appearances have caused an outcry in France, especially among those who claim to have fallen prey to his schemes but survived.
Michel Jacomet, 75, said he was part of a party of people that Sobhraj drugged in 1976. He called Sobhraj “a monster with the features of a human being,” adding that he was “still capable of anything” despite his age and health.
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In an interview with French television network TF1, Sobhraj admitted to targeting tourists across South Asia by posing as a jewelry salesman, but nothing more.
“I sold rubies, sapphires, emeralds – that was pretty much it, he said. “I contacted someone. It was always tourists or businessmen.”
French serial killer Charles Sobhraj sits in an aircraft from Kathmandu to France, on December 23, 2022. (Atish Patel/AFP via Getty Images)
“And always, if it went well, towards the evening we went for a drink together,” he added. “I put a drug in his glass, a good dose, so he slept by the time he reached his room. It was there that I took his things, in general money or other stuff.”
“I’m not a murderer,” Sobhraj protested, claiming the “whole world” was against him. “I’ve never killed anyone.”
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Sobhraj blamed the media for exacerbating his problems and labeling him “The Serpent,” complaining that he never understood the title, though he speculated it was due to his ability to get out of prison.
Sobhraj claimed to have escaped from around 10 prisons around the world, but the name allegedly derived from his use of numerous fake identities to evade capture prior to his 2004 conviction.
French serial killer Charles Sobhraj looks at his mobile phone in transit at Doha airport to France, on Dec. 23, 2022. Sobhraj, linked to at least two dozen murders in Asia in the 1970s and who inspired the Netflix series “The Serpent,” was released in Nepal and transferred to France, where he is expected on Dec. 24, 2022 morning. (Atish Patel/AFP via Getty Images)
He continued to defend his innocence, even when confronted with evidence of deaths at his Kanit House hostel in Bangkok, insisting that the deaths resulted from drug overdoses, as “autopsies showed.”
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Despite receiving a reprieve due to his poor health, Sobhraj cannot receive free health care in France since he does not have proof that he has lived in the country for at least three months, The Mirror reported.
Fox News Digital’s Andrew Mark Miller contributed to this report.
Peter Aitken is a Fox News Digital reporter with a focus on national and global news.