South African Jewish Doctor Cyril Karabus Tells of Ordeal in Dubai Jail

Freed After Months on Bogus Manslaughter Charge

Welcome Home: Crowd of well-wishers waits to greet Dr. Cyril Karabus in Cape Town. The Jewish doctor was jailed for months in Dubai on a bogus manslaughter charge.
getty images
Welcome Home: Crowd of well-wishers waits to greet Dr. Cyril Karabus in Cape Town. The Jewish doctor was jailed for months in Dubai on a bogus manslaughter charge.

By JTA

Published June 02, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Cyril Karabus stepped into the arrivals hall at Cape Town International Airport to a rapturous welcome. A multiracial crowd numbering in the hundreds had turned out to greet him. A minstrel troupe was singing “Hevenu Shalom Aleichem.” And a rabbi stepped forward to recite the priestly blessing.

The arrival two weeks ago capped a nine-month saga in which Karabus, 78, was jailed in the United Arab Emirates on charges of manslaughter and fraud.

Cyril Karabus
getty images
Cyril Karabus

Unbeknownst to the retired pediatric oncologist, he had been convicted in absentia in connection with the death of a 3-year-old leukemia patient he had treated in 2002 during a six-week stint at Sheikh Khalifa Medical Center in Abu Dhabi.

While in transit in Dubai during his return from his son’s wedding in Toronto, he was shackled and detained by police in front of his wife, daughter, son-in-law and two small grandchildren.

I was “totally bloody shocked,” Karabus said of his arrest in Dubai in August.

Thus began the ordeal during which he was incarcerated in three jails for 57 nights and forbidden to leave the UAE.

Checking in for his flight in Toronto, Karabus had an inkling something was amiss: He was informed by the staff of Emirates Airlines that there was a security alert under his name. But following further investigation, he was told there was no problem and he could board.

“They were complicit in having me arrested, so they’re not a bloody airline, they’re a police force,” Karabus said. Representatives of Emirate Airlines did not respond to JTA requests for comment.

Following his arrest, the family called their South African lawyer, Michael Bagraim, at his home for advice. It was 3 a.m.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.