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Finally, Karabus leaves UAE

A plane carrying Professor Cyril Karabus will touch down in Cape Town before noon on Friday.

Professor Cyril Karabus. Picture: Facebook.

CAPE TOWN - Professor Cyril Karabus is on a plane back home.

The retired Cape Town paediatric oncologist is expected to touch down on South African soil just before noon on Friday.

He will be welcomed at the arrivals terminal by friends, family and government officials.

The 78-year-old was held by United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities for the past nine months on a manslaughter charge, in connection with the death of a young cancer patient he treated more than a decade ago.

Although he was acquitted by two courts in Abu Dhabi, Karabus struggled to get back home because of various delays.

His lawyer Michael Bagraim said consular officials were at his side to ensure he boarded the plane early Friday morning.

"The professor is on a plane and it's something we never believed would have happened, but it did and we're screaming for joy."

His nine-month ordeal has been described as "hell" and Karabus said he was very angry when he was taken into custody last August.

Karabus also blamed bureaucracy for the delay in getting home.

"The bureaucrats just talk Arabic to me which I don't understand. I have a translator but I still don't know what's going on. I was told there was a little glitch which meant that I was not entered into a computer and that's why they didn't let me go home on Thursday."

The retired paediatric oncologist spent his 78th birthday in the UAE and also missed out on the birth of his grandson.

Karabus' son Michael said he's had very little sleep because he's too excited to see his father.

"I've been online receiving SMSes from him as he went through customs and after he boarded the plane. He was basically sending me minute by minute updates so I've had very little sleep and I am super excited."

Michael joked that he and his sister may not give their dad a hug, at first.

"My sister and I usually joke that when we see him, we will give him a klap for all this rubbish that has happened to this family [laughs]. He will get a big hug and an introduction to his grandson who he has never met."

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