File could free doctor in UAE trial

ct Karabus 696 family photo Cyril Karabus

Caryn Dolley

THE future of a Cape Town doctor, detained in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the death of a patient a decade ago, hinges on an original file containing information that apparently exonerates him.

This is according to Professor Cyril Karabus’s lawyer, Michael Bagraim, who told the Cape Times yesterday that a photocopied version of the file had been found and submitted to a judge in the UAE.

But the judge wanted the original file.

Bagraim said yesterday the prosecution would not confirm if they had the original file.

“It’s a bit nerve-wracking,” he said.

Karabus, 77, a retired paediatric oncologist, was arrested on a homicide charge in August while in transit through Dubai back to SA from a family visit in Canada.

He was tried and convicted in absentia of homicide and falsifying documents after the death of his leukemia patient, three-year-old Sarah Adel, in 2000 at the Sheikh Khalifa Medical Centre in Abu Dhabi, where he had been working as a locum.

Karabus, who had been unaware of the conviction, was initially detained then released on bail in October, but is not allowed to leave Abu Dhabi.

He appeared in court on Christmas Day and the case was postponed to January 3.

The file, which was not produced until recently, was expected to have set him free.

“You can see from the file he’s done nothing wrong,” Bagraim said.

Expectations that Karabus would have been freed were so high that Bagraim said a plane ticket had been booked for Karabus so he could leave the UAE yesterday.

Bagraim said the case was putting strain on Karabus, who had been in the UAE for about 140 days.

“It’s very difficult for a man that’s not well and is old. As an attorney I feel very helpless,” he said.

Karabus’s son, Michael, said his family had been confident that his father would be released on Christmas Day.

He said the original copy of the file had become an obstacle in the court case.

“To date we have not seen the original file. We cannot trust photocopies. This is my father’s life here,” Michael Karabus said.

On Christmas Day he had spoken to his father, whose spirits were low

“He’s gutted. Completely,” Michael Karabus said.

On the Facebook page, headed “Prof Cyril Karabus”, a number of his supporters posted messages.

One wrote: “Our thoughts and prayers are with you all the time. We are just anxiously anticipating and awaiting the day when we can welcome you back home to Cape Town Cyril!”

[email protected]


sign up