Cape Town - Cape Town paediatric oncologist Dr Cyril Karabus, who was detained in the United Arab Emirates for almost a year, has thanked everyone who helped get him released, including one person who he said had been most influential in his return home - former medical student Dr Iqbal Survé.
Karabus was arrested in Dubai in August 2012 for the death of a 3-year-old leukemia patient he treated at the Sheikh Khalifa Medical Center in Abu Dhabi years before.
He had been found guilty of murder in absentia. Following months of detention, he was released last June.
On Tuesday night, he launched his book, Blood Money, which tells of his struggle and a global campaign for his release.
Someone influential in freeing Karabus was Survé, the chairman of the Sekunjalo Group, which owns Independent News and Media SA. He had been Karubus’s student at UCT years earlier.
”The fact that Iqbal went there was one of the reasons they acquitted me. He is one of the major figures who spoke with the authorities there to try to get me out of jail,” Karabus said.
The support from people who helped in his release was unbelievable, he added.
His captors had treated him reasonably well, he said.
”I was refused bail three times. On the fourth occasion, they finally granted it. I think this is because of the pressure coming from role players who wanted me freed,” Karabus said.
Survé, who also spoke at the book’s launch at the Waterfront said he was honoured to help Karabus and his family.
“This was a team effort. It was a difficult one, but it was a privilege to do. This is truly a South African story. Yes, we moan about things, but we always come together when there are problems,” he said.
“I did the little I could to assist the family. When I met Cyril’s daughter before I went to Abu Dhabi, I could see the pain in her eyes.
“I got a call from Max Price, vice-chancellor of UCT, telling me what had happened to Cyril,” he said.
Survé said when he met the UAE minister of international affairs and that country’s ambassador, he told them he had to speak about Karabus.
“I needed to know if he was innocent,” he said. When he met Karabus, he “could see he was an innocent man”.