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!
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • 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.