CAPE TOWN doctor Professor Cyril Karabus, who has been detained in Abu Dhabi for the death of one of his patients in 2002, will be freed from a United Arab Emirates (UAE) prison today.
Karabus, from Claremont, was granted bail of 100 000 dirham (about R240 000) at the Criminal Court in Abu Dhabi yesterday, said the family’s lawyer Michael Bagraim. It had been his fifth bail application.
The 77-year-old has been in prison since August 18 after being tried and convicted in absentia of manslaughter and falsifying documents.
Karabus was detained while in transit through Dubai on charges relating to the 2002 death of a girl, Sarah Adel, who was suffering from leukaemia. Last week he told the court he had given her a blood transfusion.
Yesterday, the court appointed a 12-member committee made up of consultant doctors as per UAE law. Abu Dhabi newspaper The National reported that in cases of alleged medical errors a medical committee was set up to give opinion on the cause of death or injury. The committee
would hold hearings at which witnesses would be called to testify. Once it had issued its report, the case would return to court for a final
verdict. The committee would also review the original medical files after the judge had granted an order for their release. Its report is expected by November 20.
Karabus’s son, Michael, said his family was “ecstatic” that his father would get the chance to clear his name.
“We are hoping to speak to him soon. It has been a while since we spoke. Being free will also be good for his health.
“We thank all those who have been interested and concerned for their help and efforts – the outpouring of compassion and assistance has been overwhelming.”
Bagraim said Karabus’s wife, Jenny, would soon travel to Abu Dhabi.
He said: “He seems to be well and is looking forward to freedom. The love and prayers Dr Karabus has received from the world-wide medical community have been overwhelming. The South African public has acted as a pillar of strength.“
Karabus’s imprisonment prompted a number of South Africans to launch an online petition in support of him, as well as a Facebook page.
International relations spokesperson Clayson Monyela said the government would be providing support to Karabus and his family. A representative would attend all the hearings.
But in a letter to the Cape Times yesterday, advocate Paul Hoffman, a director of the Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa, and Dr Chris Scott, head of paediatrics and child health at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, said the department had been “somewhat minimalistic in its approach to the situation”.