Open Letter to Minister of International Relations: Intervene in Karabus Case

Maite E Nkoana-Mashabane
Minister of International Relations and Cooperation
By e-mail and fax: Minister@dirco.gov.za, (012) 328 7384, (021) 464 3700

26 September 2012

Dear Minister

We request you to intervene urgently to secure the release of Professor Cyril Karabus, a South African citizen, from incarceration in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Professor Karabus is a paediatrician who has dedicated himself to public service. He worked for many years at Red Cross Children's Hospital. He was also a professor of paediatrics at the University of Cape Town. His devotion to child health exemplifies the wonderful values that South Africa promotes.

We have learned that Professor Karabus has spent the last month in prison in the UAE. He was tried and found guilty of manslaughter in abstentia and without his knowledge. This was in relation to a case over a decade ago in which, while he was a locum at Sheikh Khalifa Medical Centre in Abu Dhabi, he treated a child who later died of leukemia. While travelling back to South Africa from Canada, he was arrested in transit in Dubai on 18 August 2012.

We respect the laws of foreign countries when they are just, even if they are vastly different from our own laws. However, by no modern principle of jurisprudence is it acceptable to try a foreign citizen in abstentia without informing him or attempting to extradite him. Furthermore, Professor Karabus is 77 years old and in frail health. The South African government should be negotiating a pardon for Professor Karabus from the UAE, or at minimum negotiating that he be allowed out on bail while a retrial takes place.

We have also learned that the South African mission in UAE has been visiting Professor Karabus, but has done very little to assist with his release. We cannot fathom what could possibly be more important to the embassy in Abu Dhabi or the consulate in Dubai than doing everything possible to rescue a model human being who is a citizen of our country from unjustly instituted distress.

Please respond by 1 October 2012 with an explanation of all the steps being taken by the South African government to secure Professor Karabus's release.

Yours sincerely

Vuyiseka Dubula
General Secretary
Treatment Action Campaign

Brad Brockman
General Secretary
Equal Education

Mandla Majola
Social Justice Coalition

Mark Heywood
Director
SECTION27

Zackie Achmat
Open Shuhada Street

CC:

Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
President of the UAE
By e-mail via the South African embassy: uae@mweb.co.za

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai
By e-mail via the South African embassy: uae@mweb.co.za
Amnesty International via fax: +44-20-79561157

For more about the Treatment Action Campaign, refer to www.tac.org.za.

For more about SECTION27, refer to www.section27.org.za.

For more about the Social Justice Coalition, refer to www.sjc.org.za.

For more about the Open Shuhada Street, refer to http://openshuhadastreet.org.

For more about Amnesty International, refer to www.amnesty.org.

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