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2 Americans Arrested At Kenyan Inquest

January 11, 1988

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) _ Police today arrested a retired federal judge from New York City and a deputy chief medical examiner from Chicago as the Americans attended an inquest into the death of a Kenyan businessman.

Marvin Frankel and Dr. Robert H. Kirschner said they were freed without charge after spending eight hours being interrogated at Nyayo House, headquarters of the Special Branch. The Special Branch is an investigative unit responsible for Kenya’s internal security.

The Americans were arrested in court about an hour after the inquest resumed into the Feb. 28 death of Peter Njenga Karanja, whom international human rights activists contend was tortured by police. The government has denied the charge.

″They questioned us about everything. Why we were butting into Kenya’s business and spreading lies about them,″ Frankel told The Associated Press.

He said he and Kirschner were questioned separately, but were not mistreated.

″As soon as we get to free territory, I would like to speak more freely,″ said Frankel, who was trying to fly home tonight. He said Kirschner also was leaving Kenya.

Frankel, a retired federal judge, is a partner in a New York City law firm and represents the New York-based Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights.

Kirschner is a pathologist and works as deputy chief medical examiner for Cook County. He came to Kenya to observe the inquest for the American Academy of Sciences’ Human Rights Committee.

The Karanja inquest began Dec. 2 and resumed today after a break for the holidays. It was adjourned after today’s session until Jan. 20.

Karanja was arrested Feb. 7 and was held without charge for three weeks before his death.