Media Statement

19 March 2013

Government receives update on the case of Professor Cyril Karabus

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation wishes to announce that there has been a strategic breakthrough in the case of Prof Cyril Karabus.

Prof Karabus was 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. Prof Karabus was unaware of the charges and the sentence until he was arrested while transiting through Dubai in August 2012.

The Medical Review Committee that was set up to review the case against Prof Cyril Karabus met and it is understood that the Committee has absolved Prof Karabus from all blame for the death of his patient.

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. These include but are not limited to interaction between the Minister of International Relations and Co-operation and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the UAE. Furthermore Mr Marius Fransman, the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, travelled to Abu Dhabi and on 3 March 2013 and the most recent visit to Dubai on Sunday, 17 March 2013, for engagements with the UAE authorities on the case. On the first occasion, Deputy Minister Fransman also met with Prof Karabus and his Legal team. The Deputy Minister also expressed South Africa’s concerns about the case to the UAE’s Minister of State during a discussion on the sidelines of the recent SADC Ministerial Meeting in Maputo on the 8th of March.

The South African Government’s concerns about the case centred around the rights of Prof Karabus to a speedy and fair trial, because the case was 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 Prof Karabus and we therefore called for a humanitarian approach in the finalisation of the matter.

We can confirm that the court met today, 19 March 2013, and the report of the Medical Review Committee was presented to the court. It is envisaged that the court will deliver its final verdict on Thursday, 21 March 2013. Deputy Minister Fransman spoke to Prof Karabus and his Legal team this morning, 19 March 2013.

The South African Government is pleased that the Medical Committee has submitted its report to the court.

We call upon all South Africans to pray for the finalisation of the case and the safe and speedy return of Prof Karabus to South Africa.

As a democratic state, South Africa respects the sovereignty and the independence of the judicial system of the United Arab Emirates.

We wish to thank the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and in particular the Minister of Foreign Affairs, The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of State for the manner in which we have engaged on this matter

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, 082 884 5974


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