Karabus back in SA

2013-05-17 12:33

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Loud cheers echoed through the arrivals hall of Cape Town International Airport when Cyril Karabus’ plane landed just before noon today.

His family, old colleagues and members of the public scrambled to the viewing glass to witness the SAA plane taxi along the runway.

A group of Cape minstrels spontaneously broke into a jovial song, causing SA Zionist Federation members to grab hands and dance around in circles.

The 78-year-old paediatric oncologist has been detained in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since August 18, after being sentenced in absentia for the death of a Yemeni girl he treated for leukaemia in 2002.

Karabus was acquitted on March 21, and won a subsequent appeal. His return to South Africa was delayed because he was on the UAE’s database as a fugitive from justice.

Karabus then needed to get his passport back from the relevant authorities, but there were administrative delays. He received his passport on Tuesday afternoon, but his visa had the incorrect date of entry to the UAE, which would make it appear as if he had stayed in the country illegally for a period of time.

Around 100 people gathered in the arrivals hall waiting for Karabus, many wearing T-shirts with his name and messages of support.

The group included members of the ANC’s Western Cape Chris Hani volunteer initiative and the SA Medical Association.

One of the volunteers, Constance Adams (42) said she and other members of the community workers’ programme in Manenberg only recently heard about the professor’s plight.

They came to the airport to support his release, but also out of curiosity.

Ben and Idafey Mervis, aged 69 and 61, said they used to work with Karabus at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital. Idafey was a young radiographer in the nuclear medicine department at the time.

“He’s exactly like the media have said he is. He’s got a real strength of character,” she said.

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