Prof Karabus acquitted by UAE court


22 March 2013

A United Arab Emirates court has found Professor Cyril Karabus not guilty, South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation said on Thursday.

“He was in court today, and the court has found him not guilty,” departmental spokesperson Clayson Monyela told the eNCA channel on Thursday.

On Tuesday, the department announced a breakthrough in Karabus’ case, saying saying he could be heading for home by the end of this week, after a medical review committee set up to review the case against Karabus met in Abu Dhabi and reportedly absolved Karabus from all blame in the case.

Karabus, 77, a specialist paediatric oncologist who is an emeritus professor at the University of Cape Town, has been in detention in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates since August, when he was arrested while in transit.

He had been found guilty in absentia in 2003 on charges of manslaughter and fraud following the death of a three-year-old patient he was treating while doing locum work in Abu Dhabi. Karabus was unaware of the charges and the sentence until he was arrested.

Earlier this month, Deputy International Relations Minister Marius Fransman visited the UAE to discuss Karabus’ case with with UAE Under-Secretary of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Al Hamed.

“The government of South Africa has since the beginning of this ordeal remained seized with this matter. Over the past few months, it has taken several actions to ensure a speedy resolution of the case,” the department said on Tuesday.

The South African government’s concerns about the case centred on Karabus’ right to a speedy and fair trial, with the case having been postponed on 13 occasions due to the inability of the prosecution to present documentary evidence. There were also concerns over the health and age of Karabus, who has a heart condition.