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.
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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.
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His retrial wasn’t nearly as easy. Karabus endured more than a dozen court postponements while authorities searched for a medical report that would have exonerated him. And though he never feared for his safety — UAE authorities even provided him with medication for his heart condition — at points he feared his ordeal would never end.

“It just went on,” Karabus said. “You just schlepped along to court and stood there and nothing happened, or you weren’t told what happened. You had to read in the newspaper the next day what had transpired, but they only translated very small amounts of the court discussion. You really had no idea what was happening.”

Karabus adds that the judge, a Moroccan, “never said a word to me.”

Support poured in from around the world. Letters arrived from doctors, many of whom had no personal connection to Karabus but were moved by his plight.

“At one time I got about 100 emails from members of the American College of Medical Science and also from the Bangladesh Community of Science,” Karabus said. “I tried to answer most of them.”

While out on $24,000 bail, Karabus stayed with a fellow South African doctor, Elwin Buchel, in Abu Dhabi. Fearful that his communications were being monitored, Karabus refrained from speaking out. Instead, he read and went for walks.

“I discovered where the nearest bottle store was, which nobody seemed to know about,” Karabus said. “You’ve got to find it because it’s not advertised, obviously.”

Karabus said he may someday write a book about his experience. But for the moment, he’s content to enjoy just being at home.

“I’m trying to find my feet again,” Karabus said. “I don’t even remember where things are in the house.”


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