ABU DHABI // A South African doctor has finally begun his journey home, nine months after being detained in the UAE on charges of forgery and manslaughter.
Dr Cyril Karabus, a paediatric haematologist and oncologist, was in transit through Dubai airport last August when he was arrested and taken to Abu Dhabi.
The specialist had been convicted in his absence over the death of a three-year-old Yemeni girl, Sara Al Ajaily, while he was working as a locum at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in 2002.
Dr Karabus, 78, spent 57 nights in Al Wathba Prison's medical ward and the rest of his detainment at the home of a South African couple.
At 3.15am today, about 24 hours after receiving his passport, Dr Karabus was due to fly to Cape Town.
After being twice cleared of the charges against him - first by Abu Dhabi Criminal Court in March, then by the Appeals Court a month later - it took another two months for Dr Karabus to receive his passport.
The last few days were also tumultuous, he said.
"We went to Al Wathba and they said we had to go to immigration so they could give me an exit visa," Dr Karabus said yesterday.
He went back and forth between the prison and Abu Dhabi International Airport to determine who had a copy of his stamp of arrival from when he landed in Dubai last August.
It took several days to complete the process.
"Eventually immigration said they made a mistake. I made a booking and I am flying at 3.15 in the morning," Dr Karabus said.
The result was a win for the professor and his legal team, said Khalfan Al Kaabi, of the UAE law company House of Justice.
"Yes, sure, it is good. It was a big case for us also," said Mr Al Kaabi, who represented Dr Karabus.