SC orders govt to decide on Sobhraj term waiver

Published On: February 25, 2019 03:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Feb 25: The Supreme Court on Sunday ordered the government to decide on jail sentence waiver concerning international serial killer Charles Sobhraj Gurmukh in line with the existing laws.

A division bench of justices Ishwar Prasad Khatiwada and Bam Kumar Shrestha handed down the order in the name of the defendant government authorities — the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Central Jail — to take appropriate decision within three months after receiving the full text of judgment.

"The bench directed the government to take decision within three months after receiving the full text of the judgment, therefore the text of judgment will be issued soon," Kishor Paudel, a media expert at the SC, told Republica.

On November 5, 2018, Sobhraj, also known as bikini killer who is serving life term at the Central Jail, had filed a writ petition seeking an apex court order seeking special privilege as an elderly person for waiver of his remainder term.

Nepal's law provides that an inmate aged 70 or above can be given up to 75 per cent jail sentence waiver.

Last year, the apex court had decided to give him only 24 years jail for committing double murder although the standard jail term for one murder is 20 years. The decision was made by a division bench of justices Kedar Prasad Chalise and Dr Ananda Mohan Bhattarai. Sobhraj is in jail since September 19, 2003 after he was convicted of killing US national Connie Joe Bronzich and Canadian national Laurent Armond Carriere in the 1970s. He has already served 16 years of the term.

He was arrested in Nepal on September 16, 2003 for the 1975 murder of US national Connie. He was convicted of the murder by the Supreme Court and handed a 20-year jail sentence. Later, Bhaktapur District Court convicted him for another murder, that of Canadian national Carrier, and handed him another jail term of 20 years, taking his total jail term to 40 years.

He challenged the Bhaktapur District Court decision at the Appellate Court Patan, but his appeal was rejected.

But in February 2018, the Supreme Court reduced the sentence to 24 years as per Sections 8 and 41 of the Fines and Punishment Chapter of the Mulki Ain or General Legal Code. Stating that Sobhraj did not commit the crime of killing Carrier after he had been arrested and convicted for the previous crime but had committed the second offense before his arrest, the apex court decided to grant him the reprieve.

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