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Blood money: The Prof Cyril Karabus story

Blood money: The Prof Cyril Karabus story (Paperback)

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"Murderer, murderer! You are under arrest." The shock of being arrested at Dubai Airport was almost too much for the ailing 77-year-old Professor Cyril Karabus, a world-renowned paediatric oncologist en route home to Cape Town with his wife and family after attending his son's wedding in Toronto. Without his knowledge, Prof Karabus had been tried in absentia in 2004 in Abu Dhabi and found guilty of manslaughter after the death of a three-year-old Yemeni girl who had died from acute myeloblastic leukaemia. Prof Karabus had served a locum in the United Arab Emirates in 2002 when this death occurred. Charges were trumped up against him by the child's father, who demanded blood money - which, according to Sharia law, is only payable after a criminal conviction - despite the fact that the girl was not even Prof Karabus's patient. This is the engrossing story of Cyril Karabus's fight to prove his innocence and secure his release from jail in the UAE, where he was confined for nine months. It also lifts the lid on all the extraordinary behind-the-scenes attempts and manoeuvres to free the doctor.

The "Free Professor Karabus" campaign was led by the Cape Town lawyer Michael Bagraim and was embraced by the medical community. This involved boycotts of Dubai-based medical conferences, public protests, website petitions and fundraisers to help meet the professor's legal expenses. The South African and World Medical Associations both plunged headlong into the fight on his behalf, as did the South African Department of International Relations and Co-operation, which sent its deputy minister to try to secure his release. As the book reveals, it was Dr Iqbal Surve, a leading South African businessman and former student of Professor Karabus at the University of Cape Town, who emerged as the knight in shining armour. Using his connections to the Abu Dhabi royal family, he made two trips to the Emirates on Prof Karabus's behalf and in the end his efforts proved successful.

Suzanne Belling began her full-time journalistic career at the Cape Times. After editing trade magazines, she became Cape Town regional editor of the SA Jewish Times, moving to Johannesburg to become editor of that paper. She was subsequently editor-in-chief of R & J Publications, founding editor of the Johannesburg Jewish Voice and managing editor of the SA Jewish Report. She has written chapters for several books and is the author of The Travelling Rabbi: My African Tribe, the story of Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft (Jacana Media).

More books by Suzanne Belling

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