ABU DHABI // The South African government has urged that the case of Dr Cyril Karabus, who is accused of the manslaughter of a three-year-old cancer patient in 2002, be speeded up.
Marius Fransman, the deputy minister of international relations and cooperation, arrived in the UAE to pass on his government’s concerns about the pace of the case and to discuss the trial with UAE officials.
“We do respect the integrity of the judiciary system, and the government here is able to understand the message that we are bringing forward as well,” he said.
Mr Fransman met Sheikh Abdullah Al Hamed, undersecretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and expressed the South African government’s concern over the repeated delays in the trial, which has so far had 13 adjournments.
Dr Karabus, who worked as a paediatric oncologist at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) in Abu Dhabi, was arrested at Dubai International Airport in August last year while travelling with his family. He was granted bail but his passport has been held from him since October.
He denied the charge of manslaughter last year at the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court. The patient, Sarah Adel from Yemen, suffered from severe bleeding on her brain that needed surgery on October 15, 2002.
After the operation, Dr Karabus warned the youngster’s parents she might not pull through. She was transferred to the hospital’s intensive care unit but died four days later.
Prosecutors claim the bleeding was caused, or made worse, by a failure to provide a blood transfusion before the operation – a claim Dr Karabus denies.
Dr Karabus left the UAE after the patient’s death and was sentenced in his absence to three years for forgery and one year for manslaughter and ordered to pay blood money of Dh100,000.
He said he left the country because his contract with SKMC ended on October 30, 2002.
Dr Karabus is waiting for the medical committee’s report, as well as a medical file requested by the defence. The Abu Dhabi Criminal Court announced last week that the medical committee examining the case had not yet sent its report.
The court is due to reconvene on March 20, pending the committee’s report.
“We hope that between now and March 20 the review process can be done,” Mr Fransman said.
Last month, South Africa sent a formal request to the Government calling for the case against Dr Karabus to be expedited.
Mr Fransman said he hoped that the case could be resolved at the next hearing because Dr Karabus will soon be 78 years old.
“We also expressed our wish to expedite the case on a humanitarian basis and for his health condition,” he said.
According to Mr Fransman, Dr Karabus has a pacemaker fitted and was required to be under periodic medical supervision.
“His medical practitioner in South Africa has informed us that he needs to go through a check-up for the pacemaker every year,” he said.
Mr Fransman expressed the sympathy of the South African government and its people for the family of Sarah Adel.
“That does not mean that we are making a judgment, but we believe that the authorities and the justice system will do what they have to independently,” he said.