Nepal digs up ‘confession CD’ to nail SobhrajMarch 3rd, 2008 - 2:59 pm ICT by admin
By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, March 3 (IANS) The Charles Sobhraj trial drama that has been unfolding in Nepal for five years has received a fresh twist with the government coming up with a CD that it claims contains a confession by the criminal mastermind of yore, linking him to several murders and passport forgeries. However, the 64-year-old French citizen, confined to a tightly guarded prison in Kathmandu since 2003 when he was sighted in the Nepali capital and arrested for a double murder, denies having ever confessed to any murder.
The new ‘evidence’ surfaced as Sobhraj’s family and lawyers have begun a legal as well as public campaign to obtain his release, with the police here doggedly trying to keep him behind bars.
Sentenced to life imprisonment by a Kathmandu district court in 2004 for the murder of an American backpacker in 1975, Sobhraj, once dubbed the “Bikini Killer” by the tabloids for preying on young western tourists, says the police fabricated evidence and the courts did not give him a fair trial.
As his formidable army of lawyers began challenging the guilty verdict in the Supreme Court, the apex court however, in a strange volte face, last month refrained from delivering the final verdict.
Instead, the two judges hearing the appeal ordered the government to re-open an old case of travelling on a fake passport that had already been dismissed by two lower courts.
As the fresh trial started last month, the state prosecutors have now come up with a CD.
According to Brajesh Pyakurel, the government attorney, the CD contains Sobhraj’s interrogation by the Interpol, during which he reportedly admitted his links to about “50 murder cases” committed in different countries.
It is surprising that the state lawyers did not produce such a damning piece of evidence when the trial started in 2003 after Sobhraj was seen in a tourist area of the capital and arrested.
Sobhraj has already announced his intention to sue History Channel for a documentary on him that portrays him as a serial killer when, he says, he was never convicted of murder by any court except in Nepal.
He also counter-alleges that a former Dutch diplomat has been stalking him and feeding Interpol fake confessions, which were produced in Nepal’s courts and accepted by the judges though they had no official seals.
The Nepali judges presiding over the retrial said they would examine if the CD was authentic.