Tuesday, January 29, 2013

29-Jan-13: UAE "Justice" officials fiddle: The scandalous treatment of Prof. Karabus goes on and on

Sheikh Khalifa Medical Center (now called Sheikh Khalifa Medical City): [Image Source]
Is this where the critically important medical file got "lost"?
Since the post we put up earlier today, there have been further developments today in the scandalous ordeal being inflicted on the distinguished medical figure, Prof. Cyril Karabus. For those new to this, we laid out some of the background in an earlier posting: see "24-Jan-13: Time for the United Arab Emirates to know the world is watching". There is also a useful report in the current issue of the South African Medical Journal.

Here in full is today's update from a UAE-based newspaper called "The National":

UAE medical panel issues response in doctor's manslaughter trial
The National (UAE) | Haneen Dajani | Jan 29, 2013         ABU DHABI The case of the South African doctor accused of the manslaughter of a three-year-old girl more than 10 years ago returned to court today as a medical committee finally issued a response. For months the Criminal Court awaited the response of the specialised committee after Sheikh Khalifa Medical City continually failed to provide the case file of the Yemeni girl who Cyril Karabus, 77, is accused of failing to give a blood transfusion to in 2002. The paediatric oncologist, who denies the charge, has been on bail with his passport confiscated since he was arrested at Dubai airport while travelling with his family. After the Criminal Court all but gave up on witnessing any proceedings earlier this month, it removed the case from the court's roll and bounced it back to prosecutors, who also failed to produce the case file essential for the professor's defence, to either present the missing evidence or dismiss the case. The medical committee's letter to court said it has referred the case to a branch committee, which is currently looking into matters. The case was adjourned until February 27 for the branch committee's report.
Months of unconscionable delay in a matter that screams 'injustice' and the so-called 'specialized medical committee' finally decides... to send the matter to a sub-committee and report back in a month. It's simply unbelievable.

It is also astonishing that Prof. Karabus' plight continues in the way that it has. To say it's a disgrace to the lawyers, justice officials and medical establishment of the United Arab Emirates is to put things far too mildly. But expressing the outrage that is appropriate, given the facts, may cause harm to the innocent defendant and his family.

Prof. Karabus has spent more than five months as a prisoner of the UAE, first for eight long weeks in a notorious prison after he was arrested at the glitzy international transit lounge in Dubai airport in August, and then while "free" on bail minus the passport that was seized from him. Local reports have reported that he was brought before the judge in chains in at least the earlier court sessions.

Not only has there been no trial so far, or even an indication that one is on the way. He has also been the victim of misleading reporting by the UAE media establishment who say - as today's news article above does - that the documents that are missing (the "case file") are "essential for the professor's defence".

A larger version of this image accompanied an earlier post 
of ours that highlights the major role Emirates - meaning
the airline, the place and the statelet - are going
to play in the lives of Australians
We are both lawyers and we think that's a misleading way of looking at it. But you don't have to be possessed of a legal education to know that a criminal prosecution cannot proceed if the evidence is "missing".

The UAE authorities have pathetically said for months that sadly they "cannot find" the medical file on the basis of which the criminal case is based. So while Prof. Karabus' UAE defence lawyers might benefit from the "missing file" turning up (reports weeks ago - click for an example - said they already have a copy of the contents and that it confirms his innocence), how can it be that the "justice" officials were not thrown out of the court months ago for (a) arresting a man without evidence to make their case; (b) depriving him of his liberty in a country through which he was transiting as an international passenger of Emirates, the soon-to-be-partner of Qantas; and (c) then failing 16 times (that's the number of "hearings" that have taken place including today's) to show their evidence to the court and to the defence lawyers?

By the way, as we keep asking, is anyone from Qantas paying attention? Are Australian travelers aware of what awaits them when the Qantas/Emirates partnership starts flying? 

An item in the South African Medical Journal quotes an African organization that
expressed ‘astonishment’ that the Emirates airline failed to warn Karabus that he was wanted in the UAE and called on all travellers ‘who share our abhorrence for the UAE’s justice system to stop flying Emirates and to not visit the UAE’.
As we mentioned in a previous posting, a South  African publication called The Daily Maverick reported back in November that the Karabus family had 
asked Emirates if it would consider funding tickets for them to visit Karabus in Abu Dhabi as a goodwill gesture, but it declined. When the Daily Maverick approached Emirates Airline for comment, it was told: “This is a legal issue being dealt with by the relevant authorities and does not involve Emirates.”
That's another little point that Qantas passengers and management might want to take on board.

Though we fully understand the significance of the UAE's phenomenal oil wealth and the massive advertising budgets of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Emirates Airlines and the UAE, where are the penetrating questions from Australian journalists and media channels? Where are the global human rights lawyers? Where is the outrage

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