False evidence given against me in Nepal apex court: Sobhraj

March 7th, 2008 - 2:52 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of National Geographic
By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, March 7 (IANS) Charles Sobhraj, accused of being a serial killer, has alleged that state lawyers have pulled a fraud on Nepal’s Supreme Court by tabling a privately made documentary as Interpol evidence of his guilt to prevent him from winning an appeal against a life term. In a dramatic twist to the five-year trial being fought out in Nepal’s courts since yesteryear’s “Bikini Killer” Sobhraj was sighted and arrested in Nepal in 2003, the state prosecutors have submitted a CD to the two judges hearing the appeal. They claim that it contains confessions made by the French national to Interpol officials that nail him for over 50 murders and passport forgery cases worldwide.

However, Sobhraj has alleged that the so-called Interpol CD is actually a documentary made by private individuals for the National Geographic channel.

Part of a series called “Interpol Investigates” that purportedly looks into sensational crimes and criminals, the documentaries begin with the disclaimer that Interpol is not involved in the programme, according to Sobhraj.

The CD was produced by former Dutch diplomat Herman Knippenberg, who Sobhraj alleges has been stalking him since both lived in Bangkok in the 70s, when a Dutch couple was found dead under mysterious circumstances.

It contains an interview with a journalist who earlier worked for the Bangkok Post daily, Alan Dawson. In the documentary, Dawson says he had visited Sobhraj when the latter was imprisoned in New Delhi’s Tihar jail.

Dawson also claims that Sobhraj drew him a map of a place in Pattaya where police later found a dead body.

However, Sobhraj said he had never made any confession, either to Interpol or to Dawson.

“No one at Interpol ever took my statement,” the enraged 64-year-old told IANS from his tightly guarded prison in Kathmandu’s Central Jail.

“In the 70s, my cases were making headlines all over the world. Had I confessed to a killing in Pattaya, as Dawson claims, it would have been splashed all over the world,” Sobhraj said.

He also points out that except Nepal, no country ever found him guilty of murder. In Nepal, he claims police fabricated ‘evidence’ and the courts did not give him a fair trial due to his earlier reputation.

Sobhraj says the documentary makers, in order to defame him, initially portrayed the actor playing him as ‘confessing’ that he had killed two western tourists in Nepal.

“But when National Geographic lawyers objected, saying I could sue them for defamation, they had to change the script,” Sobhraj said.

The CD, ironically, vindicates Sobhraj. It shows the actor playing Sobhraj being presented before an Australian tourist, who knew the slain American backpacker.

“He is not the man,” the Australian tells police after ‘Sobhraj’ is paraded before her for identification as the murdered girl’s companion.

Though History Channel and Discovery also made documentaries on Sobhraj, Nepal prosecutors picked up the National Geographic CD because of the Knippenberg connection, Sobhraj says.

Knippenberg, who now resides in New Zealand from where he is tracking the Sobhraj trial, earlier gave Nepal Police, through the American Embassy, a so-called confession the Frenchman had made before Indian Police, admitting he had visited Nepal.

Sobhraj, who says he never came to Nepal before 2003, dismisses the confession as a hoax, pointing out that it contains no official signature or seal, which is mandatory in India for recording confessions.

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