Doctor accused of murder back home in Cape Town

Written by Yazeed Kamaldien

“I’ve lost nine months of my life. I’m damn angry about it.”

Those were the words of an upset Professor Cyril Karabus at his Kenilworth home yesterday. The Cape Town doctor arrived home on Friday morning after being held in the United Arab Emirates since last August for the alleged murder of a three-year-old patient in 2002.

The retired doctor added: “I will never go to the UAE again.”

Professor Cyril Karabus and his grandson Gabriel. Picture by Yazeed Kamaldien

Professor Cyril Karabus and his grandson Gabriel. Picture by Yazeed Kamaldien

Karabus spent 57 days in three different UAE jails. He then had to stay in Abu Dhabi while a court case to prove his innocence ensued. The court declared him innocent on March 21 and paperwork delayed his return home.

“It was dreadful. I was in court 17 times. Very rarely did I actually know what was happening,” said Karabus.

He kept a daily diary which not “not particularly exhaustive” though as “it took me five minutes a day” to write.

At home, his grandchildren, children and wife surrounded Karabus. He held Gabriel, his grandson born to his son Michael Karabus while he was in the UAE.

“It feels wonderful to be home,” said Karabus.

Michael Karabus added: “It’s been a long nine months with a lot of uncertainty. It’s great that it’s finally over and that he’s back. There were lots of doubts from our side along the way.”

“It’s also absolutely fantastic that a lot of people who had no reason to, took a stand. Too often, in many situations, people stand back and do nothing.

“The feeling of the support has made such a difference to us and my father. He was taken aback by the groundswell of local support. Ex-patients, colleagues, family, friends and strangers were at the airport to welcome him.”

“He asked us, ‘What’s going on? What is this about?’ Airport staff wore ‘Welcome home Professor Karabus’ t-shirts.”

Marius Fransman, deputy minister of international relations and cooperation, was among those who welcomed Karabus home at the airport on Friday.

Fransman said: “Civil society played an important role in highlighting the plight of Karabus, thereby putting a spotlight on a process that appeared to deprive him of his right to a fair trial.

“The medical fraternity, the media, business organisations and individuals all had a hand in agitating for the freedom that he has come home to enjoy.”

He said the South African government “took all the necessary steps to ensure that Karabus receives a fair and just trial and that such efforts take place at a high level.”

Fransman had travelled to the UAE to discuss the Karabus trial with his UAE counterparts earlier this year.

“Although it was not possible for South Africa to influence or interfere with the judicial process in another sovereign state, we ensured that our government remains seized with the matter till it is concluded,” said Fransman.

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About Yazeed Kamaldien

Self-employed journalist and photographer from South Africa.

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