Jewish doctor detained in Abu Dhabi cleared of charges

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (JTA) — An Abu Dhabi judge dismissed charges against Cyril Karabus, a Jewish doctor who had been detained in the United Arab Emirates in connection with a patient’s death.

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The 77-year-old Karabus, a pediatric oncologist from South Africa, was arrested last August in Abu Dhabi while in transit on his way home to South Africa after attending his son’s wedding in Canada.

The arrest was a consequence of the 2003 death in the United Arab Emirates of a 3-year-old cancer patient under Karabus’ care. Unbeknownst to Karabus, who returned to South Africa after the patient’s death, the doctor was charged with manslaughter and falsifying documents, found guilty in abstentia and sentenced to three years in prison. Karabus was unaware of the trial or sentence until his arrest at the airport.

After his arrest, he spent nearly seven weeks in prison before being released on bail and confined to house arrest. While his family lobbied for his release from the country, citing a heart condition Karabus has, Karabus went through more than 25 court hearings.

In recent weeks, the medical review committee produced a report that cleared Karabus of any wrongdoing. On Thursday, a judge confirmed this and effectively released the doctor, who may have to remain in the country for two more weeks to allow the prosecution time to appeal.

“We are confident that Professor Karabus will be home soon,” said Michael Bagraim, a lawyer who is assisting the family. “We are thankful that our Department of Foreign Affairs is doing everything in their power at this point to ensure that Professor Karabus comes home.”

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