SA prof to make fourth bail bid

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Professor Cyril Karabus was tried and sentenced in abstentia, without knowing anything about it. Photo: Family Handout

Cape Town - A former UCT staff member, detained in the United Arab Emirates for the death of one of his patients a decade ago, is expected in a court there on Wednesday to apply for bail a fourth time.

Emeritus Associate Professor Cyril Karabus, 78, has been detained for about six weeks.

He was taken into custody on August 18 while in transit through Dubai from the UK to SA on charges relating to the 2002 death in Abu Dhabi of a young girl who was suffering from leukaemia, a severe form of cancer of the blood.

On Monday, his son, Michael Karabus, said he was expected in a UAE court on Wednesday and from what he understood, two things were expected to happen:

- After being denied bail three times, Karabus would apply for bail for a fourth time.

- At a previous court appearance, Karabus’s Abu Dhabi-based lawyers had requested the girl’s full medical file.

Tomorrow the lawyers would likely find out if this file will be provided to them.

Karabus, according to a statement issued by the University of Cape Town last week, had treated the girl while working as a locum in Abu Dhabi and on returning home, had not been told he faced any charges and was tried and convicted in absentia on charges of manslaughter and falsifying documents. His sentence included imprisonment for three years and six months.

On Monday, Michael Karabus said the girl’s medical file, which would likely contain various documents from various medical departments, was crucial in the case. “We’re absolutely certain it will exonerate (my father),” he said.

However, he said, it could take up to a year to fully investigate the medical file.

He said the International Relations and Co-operation Department was assisting his father, who has a pacemaker, and was ensuring he received his medication.

Michael Karabus said he had visited his father in the UAE last month and said he had been concerned about his reputation.

“He dedicated his life to the public health service in this country, but it’s more than likely this is what he’ll be remembered for,” Michael Karabus said.

Local labour lawyer Michael Bagraim yesterday confirmed that he was assisting Karabus and was working with his attorneys in Abu Dhabi.

Last week, UCT said in a statement it supported Karabus,

Vice-chancellor Max Price notified staff and pupils of an online petition they could sign, on Avaaz.org, in support of Karabus, as well as of a “Prof Cyril Karabus” Facebook page.

By yesterday, there were 9 283 signatures on the online petition and 466 people had “liked” the Facebook page.

One Facebook user wrote: “Prof Karabus treated my son, Tayla, at Red Cross Children’s Hospital 18 years ago - my thoughts are with him at this time! Prof Karabus was an absolute professional who showed such love and compassion for his patients and their families!”

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