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Cape Town - Cyril Karabus, the local retired paediatric oncologist who has been held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for 200 days, used his time wisely while jailed there - he medically treated fellow inmates.
Karabus, 77, who has a heart condition, has been in the UAE since August when he was arrested while in transit.
Before he was released on bail in October, he had been detained in the hospital wing of the Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi Central Prison.
On Monday, Karabus’s local lawyer, Michael Bagraim, said during his time there Karabus’s medical expertise became known.
“He became the in-house consultant in the jail himself. People found out that he was a doctor and came to him with their ailments,” Bagraim said.
In an interview with Karabus published yesterday on the website www.7daysindubai.com, he said he had given advice to inmates about issues including blood pressure, skin complaints and back pain.
“I was particularly good friends with two brothers who are accused of murder, I liked them a lot and I believe they liked me. One of them I treated for a complaint, the other one, I’m afraid, was a bit of a hypochondriac. He claimed to have everything wrong with him, but in reality, he was fine,” Karabus was quoted as saying.
At the weekend, International Relations and Co-operation Deputy Minister Marius Fransman visited the UAE to discuss Karabus’s case with his counterpart there.
“South Africa called on the UAE to allow Professor Karabus to be released on humanitarian grounds due to his age and health,” Fransman’s department said.
Fransman was expected to arrive back in SA on Monday.
Bagraim said he was waiting to hear whether Fransman’s visit would affect proceedings.
He expected to hear from Fransman this morning.
Following Fransman’s UAE visit, a number of Karabus’s supporters commented on a Facebook page titled “Marius Fransman”.
One wrote: “Minister Fransman it is encouraging to know you are in the UAE trying to assist Prof Cyril Karabus… please use all means possible to get this respected man back home with his family!”
Karabus’s case was meant to have proceeded last week, but was delayed again because a medical committee tasked with examining the case had failed to provide its report.
He had been tried in absentia and convicted of manslaughter and falsifying documents after the death of a three-year-old in 2002 at the Sheikh Khalifa Medical Centre, Abu Dhabi. Karabus was sentenced to three years in jail. His case is set to proceed on March 20.