Wednesday, February 06, 2013

6-Feb-13: At the United Arab Emirates foreign ministry, they want you to know their hands are tied

The updated Karabus page on the UAE foreign ministry website
Here's an update to our posting of a week ago ["31-Jan-13: UAE's foreign ministry is "closely following" Prof. Karabus' nightmare"] about how the diplomats of Dubai and Abu Dhabi are seeking to soft pedal the disgraceful treatment being meted out as we speak to the distinguished retired South African doctor, Prof. Cyril Karabus. [Links to the background - see the end of this post.]

Visitors to the UAE foreign ministry website will have seen a short, even terse, statement about Prof. Karabus' case, highlighting the offences with which he is charged in relation to a three year old patient: "failing to give her a blood transfusion" and "forging a medical report". There's little there of an informative nature other than the headline which may leave some readers wondering what sort of "closely following" the UAE's diplomats are doing if they fail to take account of the long list of deeply disturbing aspects of the Karabus case we mentioned in our post.

Readers who go back to the UAE foreign ministry's website now will see a longer treatment of the Karabus case. Under the identical headline, they have added words and sentences but neither insight nor honesty; it's just self-justification of a kind that many will find distasteful. The key addition is this specious argument:
As is the case in South Africa, the judicial process in the United Arab Emirates is independently and wholly overseen and managed by the Federal Supreme Court.  The Government of the United Arab Emirates cannot and does not interfere in the independent judicial process. 
The UAE Constitution states that: “All persons are equal before the law, without distinction between citizens of the Federation in regard to race, nationality, religious belief and social status”.  Professor Karabus will be tried on this basis and in accordance with international standards. 
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the UAE will continue to keep South African Authorities up to date with developments regarding this matter
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs understands the difficulties involved for the family of any person who is on trial, especially when a trial is taking place in a country that is not their own. However, it is imperative that the proper judicial process is followed
We think the double-talking and hypocrisy of these foreign office apologetics speak far more eloquently than the pseudo-diplomatic tone. 

The frail 77 year-old doctor who was originally prosecuted in his absence without ever being notified of the charges or afterwards of the conviction, has been a prisoner of the UAE since August 2012. The prosecutors have still not produced the evidence file and his case has been adjourned without a substantive hearing 16 times. 

The crushing injustice of the Karabus case shines a harsh light on how life is lived in those oil-and-money-drenched corners of the world where democracy, open government and legal due process are far-off and foreign notions. In the UAE, you can get your hands on most things that money can buy. But that has never included justice or decency, not even in their bursting-at-the-seams duty-free shops.

Some of our previous posts about this painful subject for your further reading:
26-Sep-12: Dubai, Dubai, Dubai

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