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Karabus describes his ordeal

The elderly professor thanked South Africans for their support.

Prof Cyril Karabus arrives at Cape Town International Airport on 17 May 2013 following a legal battle in the UAE. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Retired Cape Town doctor Cyril Karabus on Friday thanked South Africans for supporting him throughout his harrowing ordeal in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), saying he was happy to finally be back home.

He returned to South Africa just before noon after being held in Abu Dhabi for the past nine months.

The 78-year-old was fighting a manslaughter charge in connection with the death of a young cancer patient he treated more than a decade ago.

While he was found not guilty by two courts, the paediatric oncologist struggled for weeks to leave the country due to various bureaucratic delays.

Karabus reflected on his time in the UAE.

"There were ups and downs. When you thought things were going well and then a day or two later, suddenly, something happened and they were going down again. It was very upsetting."

He said he was pleased to be back home.

"Thank you very much for your support. I really appreciate it and it's nice to be home."

Karabus' lawyer Michael Bagraim said he was overcome with emotion when he saw his client in the flesh for the first time in months.

"I burst into tears as soon as I saw him come in, with the family, we all cried. It feels like it's a journey that has come to an end."