20 March 2013
South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation says there has been a “breakthrough” in the case of Professor Cyril Karabus, a paediatric oncologist who has been in detention in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates since August.
The department said on Tuesday that a medical review committee set up to review the case against Karabus had met in Abu Dhabi, and that it was understood that the committee has absolved Karabus from all blame for the death of his patient.
“We can confirm that the court met [on Tuesday], and the report of the medical review committee was presented to the court. Therefore, we envisage that the court is expected to deliver its final verdict on Thursday, 21 March,” the department said.
Karabus, 77, has been in detention in the UAE since August, when he was arrested while in transit. He had been found guilty in absentia in 2003 on charges of manslaughter and fraud following the death of a three-year-old patient he was treating while doing locum work in Abu Dhabi.
Karabus was unaware of the charges and the sentence until he was arrested while transiting through Dubai in August.
Earlier this month, Deputy International Relations Minister Marius Fransman visited the UAE to discuss Karabus’ case with with UAE Under-Secretary of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Al Hamed.
“The government of South Africa has since the beginning of this ordeal remained seized with this matter. Over the past few months, it has taken several actions to ensure a speedy resolution of the case,” the department said on Tuesday.
The South African government’s concerns about the case centred on Karabus’ right to a speedy and fair trial, with the case having been postponed on 13 occasions due to the inability of the prosecution to present documentary evidence. There were also concerns over the health and age of Karabus, who has a heart condition.