FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
08 October 2012
Medical Association issues strong pleas for Karabus release from UAE jail
The SA Medical Association (SAMA) has issued a plea to the Minister of International Relations and Co-operation to urgently intervene in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) case of retired Cape Town-based paediatric oncologist, Prof Cyril Karabus (78), who has been held in custody in an Abu Dhabi jail since his arrest on August 18, 2012.
In a formal statement to this effect, SAMA has noted that it has also engaged the World Medical Association (WMA) and through this body, Amnesty International, on this matter. The charges against Prof Karabus relate to the unfortunate death of a child with leukaemia who he attended to while briefly working in the UAE in 2002 following his retirement from a lifelong career in the South African public health sector. He was arrested at Dubai airport in August whilst in transit whilst returning to South Africa.
In its letter to the international relations minister, SAMA has stressed that despite several attempts, “this 78 year old man has repeatedly been denied bail” – inconceivable, it adds, for someone who cannot leave the country as his travel documents have been confiscated. Attention is also drawn to the fact that Prof Karabus’ lawyer is not able to access any records to present as evidence in his re-trial. “Minister,” SAMA wrote, “ as the representative organization of doctors in South Africa, the South African Medical Association respectfully implores your Department to intervene in any way or means possible to ensure that this elderly colleague of ours who has served the country with distinction, is given a fair chance to defend himself.
“While pleading with all medical professionals and associations to support the release of a colleague who finds himself in such an unfortunate situation, SAMA has strongly advised South African doctors to be aware of the medical liability risks if and when practising medicine in the UAE.
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