Press Release

03 March 2013

Deputy Minister Fransman concludes visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Marius Fransman undertook a working visit to Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), on Sunday, 03 March 2013.

Deputy Minister Fransman held bilateral consultations with the UAE Under-Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Mr Abdulla Al Hamed, concerning the case of Professor Cyril Karabus.

Professor Karabus, an emeritus Professor at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and specialist paediatric oncologist, has been in detention in Abu Dhabi since 19 August 2012 in connection with a case dating back to 2002/2003 related to the death of a three-year old Yemeni patient. He is currently out on bail.

The unavailability of the medical record of the Higher Medical Committee has resulted in the postponement of Professor Karabus’s court hearing for the 13th time. The next court date is on Wednesday, 20 March 2013.

During the consultations, the Deputy Minister raised South Africa’s concern regarding the delays in finalising the case of Professor Karabus; the health of Professor Karabus; and the potential of the case to cause damage to the existing good relations between South Africa and the UAE.

South Africa called on the UAE to allow Professor Karabus to be released on humanitarian grounds due to his age and health. The South African Government respects the independence of the judiciary and called for a fair trial with a view to avoiding further postponements of the case.

Notwithstanding this concern, Deputy Minister Fransman emphasised that South Africa and the UAE enjoyed good bilateral relations. Not only is the UAE the largest market for South African products in the Arab World, but it is a major investor in South Africa and home to a sizeable South African expatriate community.

The Deputy Minister said South Africa looked forward to welcoming the President of the UAE in South Africa after he accepted an invitation from President Jacob Zuma to undertake a visit. It is also expected that the inaugural meeting of the South Africa – UAE Joint Commission would take place during 2013.

The Deputy Minister also consulted with Professor Karabus about the case and enquired about his health and personal circumstances. Prof Karabus confirmed that his next court hearing is scheduled for 20 March 2013 and expressed hope that the Higher Medical Committee would have reviewed his case by that time.

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

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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