Monday, January 07, 2013

7-Jan-13 [UPDATED]: Karabus affair: UAE attorney-general "failed to turn up"

Surreal? One involuntary visitor will likely agree
A South African newspaper published an update today that focuses attention again on the disgraceful treatment being endured by the distinguished paediatric onclogist, Prof. Cyril Karabus, at the hands of the authorities in the United Arab Emirates.

We have posted numerous items in this blog about the Karabus scandal, and the shabby conduct of the UAE authorities. Prof Karabus, 77, was detained at Dubai International Airport in the UEA on August 18, 2012 while in transit with Emirates, a Dubai-based airline that recently became the major strategic partner of Australia's Qantas Airlines. He had been en route home from attending his son’s wedding in Toronto. The UAE authorities grabbed his passport and arrested him in front of astonished family members, and informed him that he had been found guilty a decade earlier, without his knowledge, of causing the death of a terminally-ill three year old cancer patient whom he treated while working as a locum in a UAE hospital. He was immediately thrown into prison, managing to get bail only two months later but still unable to leave the United Arab Emirates whose police continue to hold his passport.

Another news report ["Case is suspected to be all about ‘blood money’"] quotes Michael Bagraim, a South African lawyer who has been representing Karabus by remote control from his home country, says he has “briefed our legal team in Abu Dhabi to go to court (today) to find out what’s going on,” after Abu Dhabi's Attorney General failed to report to the judge as expected on Sunday.
“The Attorney General (AG) was supposed to give a report to the judge about whether or not they have managed to locate the missing original medical records,” Bagraim said. “Based on that, the judge was supposed to make a decision on whether Karabus’s charges will be dismissed,” he said. “They didn’t show up in court and they have given no explanation.” On Christmas day the judge gave the prosecution until last Wednesday to come up with the original medical records, which Karabus maintains will prove his innocence – or, said the judge, he would dismiss the charges. When the prosecution couldn’t produce the records on Wednesday, the judge forwarded a recommendation to the AG seeking to have the charges dropped.
The South African newspaper adds that "there is strong suspicion that the case was, in fact, about a blood money claim by the parents" of the dead child. The apparent implication: the hospital took the decision years ago to pay financial compensation (termed 'blood money' in their culture) to the Yemeni parents of the deceased child, and it is the hospital and/or other Dubai elements that are now leveraging the opaque legal system of the non-democratic UAE to cover their losses by squeezing money from the retired doctor.

Some critics have suggested it's a form of state-sanctioned ransom. Prof. Karabus has been held by the UAE authorities enitrely against his will, in flagrant violation of the most basic principles of criminal justice and, as it appears, on the basis of a criminal prosecution that is founded on files that have never shown up in thirteen consecutive hearings, for nearly five months. The Emirates advert at the top of this post actually seems prescient.

(Anyone from Qantas paying attention to any of this?)

UPDATE January 8, 2012: We pass along without comment a brief report from another South African newspaper today that speaks for itself.

SA Muslim political party intervenes in Karabus case
Qaanitah Hunter| Cii News| 08 January 2013
A letter sent by South African political party, Al Jama-ah, to the ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and the Attorney General of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) regarding the case of Cape Town professor Cyril Karabus is been considered by judicial authorities in the country. An emeritus professor at the University of Cape Town, Karabus (77), has been detained in Abu Dhabi, on charges of manslaughter and falsifying documents, since August 18.
Al Jama-ah leader, Ganief Hendericks, said the party has slammed the South African media for rubbishing the judicial system of Abu Dhabi instead of focussing on the merits of the case. Hendericks explained that the letter was to explain the impact of the issues around the incarceration of Professor Karabus has on the image of Islamic judicial systems. The party noted that it wanted the Professor to be released immediately if there was no prima facie case as determined by the Attorney General. “Otherwise the professor’s passport must be returned so that he can return to South Africa on humanitarian grounds and in terms of the esteem he has in medical circles and the esteem the Muslim community has for the Red Cross War Memorial Hospital Children’s hospital where he was a former staffer,” they said in the letter.
The Party reiterated that it has full confidence in the judiciary in Abu Dhabi and was confident that the Karabus would get a fair hearing.
That's the entire article. No edits, and all we did was add the boldface.

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