DUBAI, Apr 25 – An Abu Dhabi appeals court has acquitted a South African doctor of decade-old medical negligence charges that have stranded him in the United Arab Emirates since August, his lawyer said on Thursday.
Professor Cyril Karabus had been unaware that he had been convicted of manslaughter in absentia and sentenced to three and a half years when he was arrested in the transit lounge of Dubai airport last year, his lawyer Michael Bagraim told AFP.
“Karabus was acquitted on appeal” on Wednesday, his lawyer Michael Bagraim told AFP.
The South African’s legal team had been pressing for a swift verdict from the appeals court arguing the legal proceedings had been hanging over him for far too long.
Karabus had spent nearly two months in custody after his arrest before being granted bail.
The 2003 verdict handed down in absentia found Karabus guilty of manslaughter over the death of a three-year-old Yemeni girl at an Abu Dhabi hospital the previous year.
Since his arrest last August, a new verdict has been repeatedly delayed.
Prosecutors in September last year said Karabus did not give the patient a platelet transfusion when she required it, alleging this had caused her death.
But laboratory reports later presented to court confirmed the platelets were given.
Karabus was acquitted on March 21 after a medical committee assigned by the court to review his case absolved him of negligence.
But prosecutors filed an appeal and a new hearing was held on April 9.
His trial was repeatedly delayed after prosecutors failed to present the court with full medical notes, including those from September 18, 2002 onwards, which had been missing from their original submission.
The verdict had not been expected until next Monday but UAE newspapers said it was announced earlier in response to defence applications.
“We are very happy with this outcome and certainly praise the court for the swift decision,” Bagraim said.
But he added: “We await any final decision from the prosecution as to whether they are going to allow Professor Karabus to get his passport and to return to South Africa.”
A Facebook page named “Free Prof. Karabus” had amassed more than 1,600 likes.