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Judge Appoints Guardian For Zimbabwean Diplomat’s Son

January 6, 1988

NEW YORK (AP) _ A federal judge has appointed a guardian to represent a 9-year-old boy allegedly abused by his father, a Zimbabwean diplomat, amid charges by Zimbabwean officials that the United States has kidnapped the child. The boy, Terrence Karamba, has been in a tug-of-war between his parents and the Zimbabwean and U.S. governments, all of which want him returned to the African nation, and city child welfare authorities, who want him to remain here.

U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein on Tuesday named Robert McMahon, head of the St. Christopher-Ottilie social service agency, to represent the boy, whose father, Floyd Karamba, is an administrative attache at the Zimbabwean Mission to the United Nations.

Weinstein, who previously ordered the boy’s immediate return, appointed the guardian under the directive of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

On Monday, the appeals court stayed any developments in the case until it holds a full hearing, tentatively scheduled for Thursday.

Weinstein said McMahon should arrange a visitation schedule for the boy’s mother, who has requested to see him. In addition, the boy should continue to receive counseling from psychologists of St. Christopher and the State Department.

It was Weinstein’s refusal earlier Monday to delay turning the boy over to the State Department that prompted his Legal Aid attorney to seek the appellate court hearing.

The attorney, Henry Weinraub, told the three-judge panel that the boy was ″terrified″ about going back to Zimbabwe and asked that his return be delayed so he could undergo counseling to make the transition easier.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Igou Allbray had argued that Zimbabwean officials were angry with the delay in the boy’s return and had accused the United States of kidnapping him.

Terrence was placed in foster care Dec. 11 after his elementary school teachers in Queens noticed suspicious scars and injuries.

Attorneys for the city Human Resources Administration and Legal Aid Society have claimed the injuries were inflicted by his father, who had diplomatic immunity here.

Karamba returned to Zimbabwe Dec. 28. His wife and two daughters, ages 3 and 6, remain in the United States but are expected to return to Zimbabwe shortly, said Elizabeth Johanns, a staff attorney at Legal Aid.

The Washington Times reported today that President Reagan brought up the plight of the boy in a meeting yesterday with his national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Colin Powell.

The president, according to an official who spoke on condition he remain unidentified, asked Powell: ″Can’t we do something for this boy? Find out for me, would you?″

Powell is said to have asked the National Security Council staff to seek legal avenues to allow the boy to stay in the United States.

The White House had no official comment on the matter, the newspaper said.

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