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Cape Town - Professor Cyril Karabus, the retired paediatric oncologist who has been held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for about seven months, could be coming home soon following a “breakthrough” that could see him being acquitted of the manslaughter charges he is facing.
On Tuesday, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Marius Fransman called for the country to “pray in solidarity” with the Karabus family following reports that the medical review committee tasked with probing the matter had “absolved Karabus from all blame for the death of his patient”.
He said the verdict in Karabus’s case was expected on Thursday. The committee’s report was submitted during the professor’s court appearance on Tuesday.
Karabus, 77, from Kenilworth, was arrested at Dubai airport while travelling with his family on August 18.
He was convicted of manslaughter in absentia in the UAE in 2003.
The charge related to the death of a three-year-old Yemeni girl with cancer in 2002 at the Sheikh Khalifa Medical Centre in Abu Dhabi, where Karabus had been working as a locum. Prosecutors argue that he failed to give a blood transfusion to the child, who later died of myeloid leukaemia.
Flanked by Karabus’s lawyer in Cape Town, Michael Bagraim, Fransman, who visited the UAE for a second time last week to discuss the case with its government, said the South African government was satisfied with the latest development.
“We call on South Africans to pray for the final process on Thursday and in solidarity with Mr Karabus and his family as well as for his safe return to South Africa,” Fransman said.
He thanked the UAE government for its co-operation in the matter, saying South Africa respected its “sovereignty and independence”.
Bagraim said Karabus was taking strain and his health was “failing”. He said the “sickly” professor had been having angina attacks in the past few weeks.
He was hopeful the court would rule in favour of Karabus. There were two final hurdles – Thursday’s judgment and bringing Karabus home.
“We hope and pray the judge endorses the review committee report,” Bagraim said. Karabus would have to be assessed by doctors when he arrived home.
Several MPs praised the way the International Relations Ministry handled the issue during the debate in the National Assembly on Tuesday.