Professor Cyril Karabus will not be returning home from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Wednesday. The 78-year-old appeared in court earlier to collect his passport, but upon his return back to prison for release he was told the documents were insufficient. The paediatric oncologist was recently found not guilty of manslaughter and forgery by two Abu Dhabi courts... His son, Michael Karabus, said they are hoping for better luck on Thursday. “The South African consulate official drove him to the prison where he was held to collect his passport. He was then advised that the paperwork that he had was insufficient so he will now go back to court tomorrow to try and see if he can get the right paperwork this time.”(If you are new to the tribulations inflicted on Prof. Karabus, please click here for some of our earlier posts.)
We're no experts in how to work within the undemocratic and arcane UAE/Abu Dhabi/Dubai legal system or its bureaucracy. Nor can we understand the mostly-passive role of the South African government and its representatives.
Nonetheless we can venture a guess: the documents presented by Prof. Karabus are going to remain "insufficient" until someone in power decides that they are sufficient, and that there is no more value in pressuring the innocent, distinguished retired doctor for blood money or for anything else. That's when the unfortunate man will be allowed to finally go home after being an enforced 'guest' of the UAE legal system since mid August 2012.
So we have an uninvited suggestion. In view of the thoroughly disgraceful - we would say scandalous - way he has been treated from the outset by the authorities in the UAE, the government of South Africa should immediately, today, appoint Prof. Cyril Karabus as one of its diplomatic representatives. It should then immediately, today, issue him with a diplomatic passport, deliver it to him by courier or via the numerous South African consular officials posted in the UAE, and have a cluster of determined senior diplomatic representatives in the UAE accompany him to the Emirates/Qantas check in counter at Dubai airport, where a complementary upgrade to first class should be waiting for him. And if making him a diplomat causes problems, then just issue him with a fresh SA passport, but let it be today. And if the flights to South Africa are full, then just fly him out of that place to anywhere.
May we suggest some of our South African readers adopt this and pass it along to the people who can make it happen today?
Here are some contact details. The South African Embassy, Abu Dhabi, is conveniently located on Airport Road, opposite the Mushrif Mall, Villa 202, 25th Street, Abu Dhabi. The consular officer, who we presume can issue passports, can be reached on +971-2-447-3262. At the same time, since this is serious humanitarian issue (we hesitate to say that South Africa's dignity is on the line), a call should also go to the South African Consulate-General's Duty Officer whose cell number is +971-50-558-1235. It is located on Khalid Bin Al Waleed Street on the third floor of the New Sharaf Building, and walking distance from the Khalid Bin Al Waleed Metro station.