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Cape Town - Cyril Karabus, the eminent Cape Town paediatrican detained in the UAE on manslaughter charges after a child he treated in 2003 died of leukemia complications, believes the court case he is embroiled in is because the father of the dead child “wanted blood money”.
Karabus, who spoke to the Cape Times from Abu Dhabi on Sunday, will appear in court for the 13th time on Wednesday after being detained on August 18.
“I believe the father of the girl wanted blood money and persuaded one of the nurses to give a fabricated story,” he said.
Karabus has been told that there was a court judgment years ago in terms of which the family of the dead child, who came from Yemen, were paid out by the hospital. He has been trying to get the former managers of the hospital to admit this, but they have been “evasive”.
Karabus was detained in the UAE on charges of manslaughter for the death of three-year-old Sarah Adel Abdulla, who he had treated for acute myeloid leukemia in 2003 while he was doing a locum at the Sheikh Khalifa Medication Centre in Abu Dhabi.
In 2004, after he had left, he was convicted in absentia and sentenced to four years’ jail for allegedly not giving the child a blood transfusion.
The UAE authorities also claimed Karabus had falsified the child’s medical records to make it appear as if he had. To date the State has not provided any evidence to support its claims. It has also emerged that:
* In four months, they have not been able to furnish the court with the original medical files of the child who died of leukemia.
* A photostat of the medical files, which the prosecution supplied, records that the child had indeed been given a|transfusion.
* The eminent paediatrician slept on a blanket on a concrete floor in prison for two months.
* When he was brought to court, he was shackled with leg and wrist irons and was behind bullet-proof glass.
* The Pretoria doctor who gave him a place to stay in Abu Dhabi has been told his work permit will not be renewed. He has 30 days to leave.
Karabus’s wife, Jenifer, believes the South African embassy has done nothing to help her husband. “They gave him newspapers in prison and the consul was there in court, but otherwise they have done sweet diddly…”
When he appears in court for the 13th time on Wednesday, Karabus’s legal team will demand that the case be struck from the roll and that he be released. “I expect nothing because we’ve got nothing so far,” said Jenifer.
She said her husband had been denied bail initially because he had no fixed abode. A Pretoria doctor, Elwin Buchel, working at a military hospital in Abu Dhabi, heard about Karabus and offered to let him stay at his flat. Because of this, the court gave him bail.
Jenifer said her husband had nothing to do all day and was not allowed to work, even for charity. “His life is a misery, I don’t know how he survives. He is very lonely.”
International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told her counterpart in the UAE at the weekend that she believed Karabus’s detention was illegal.