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Thu Nov 27 13:51:28 SAST 2014

SA medic on way home?

PHILANI NOMBEMBE | 20 March, 2013 00:56
Dr Cyril Karabus. File photo.

The family of South African paediatrician Cyril Karabus - held in the United Arab Emirates on manslaughter charges - is preparing for his safe return, but will only start celebrating when he sets foot on the aeroplane.

The professor has not been home in Cape Town for eight months after he was arrested in Dubai.

But his detention has been fraught with controversy, prompting special intervention by the South African government.

The Department of International Relations and Co-operation revealed yesterday that there had been a "strategic breakthrough" in the case which could see the 77-year-old return home.

"It is wonderful, we are absolutely ecstatic," said his daughter Sarah.

"Until he is on a plane it is not a done deal yet."

Police pounced on Karabus at the Dubai International Airport while in transit to South Africa after attending his son's wedding in Canada in August.

His arrest followed an operation he performed on a three-year-old cancer patient while he was a locum at Sheikh Khalifa Medical Centre, in Abu Dhabi, in 2002.

The patient died of leukaemia and Karabus was tried and found guilty of fraud and manslaughter in 2003, in absentia.

Missing medical files have delayed his trial for months.

The files would, according to his legal team, exonerate Karabus.

He was granted bail of R250000 but had to remain in that country while the trial continued.

Sarah said a medical review committee consisting of nine doctors met on Monday night to review the file of the patient.

"And their conclusion was that there was no negligence, that my father's treatment was correct and they recommended that he be absolved."

Earlier this year, South Africa issued the UAE government with a démarche about Karabus's plight.

A démarche is a diplomatic representation by one government to another either expressing discontent or stating an official position.

International Relations spokesman Clayson Monyela said government had taken "several actions to ensure the speedy resolution of the case".

Tomorrow, a court will consider the review committee's recommendation with regards to the case.

Said Sarah: "The judge will look at the report . he doesn't necessarily have to agree with the medical committee. We hope that he will."

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