LA couple sent to jail in Qatar for death of adopted child

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A Los Angeles couple were sentenced to three years in jail in Qatar on Thursday for causing the death of their adopted daughter, who was found to have died of starvation, in a case that has raised concern in Washington.

Matthew and Grace Huang were arrested in January last year after their 8-year-old adopted daughter, Gloria, died unexpectedly.

An autopsy found that she had died of "cachexia and dehydration", while the prosecutor charged the couple with "murder with intent by forced starvation". Cachexia is an irreversible loss of body mass.

The couple argued that Gloria had been suffering from malnutrition-related diseases since they adopted her from Ghana at the age of 4, and that the Qatari authorities had failed to acknowledge this.

"We have just been wrongfully convicted and we feel as if we are being kidnapped by the Qatar judicial system," Matthew said. "This verdict is wrong and appears to be nothing more than an effort to save face."

The US State Department said on Wednesday that Washington was concerned by "indications that not all of the evidence was being weighed by the court and that cultural misunderstandings may have been leading to an unfair trial".

The judge reading the verdict did not specify what offence the couple had been convicted of, but the prosecution had earlier downgraded an original charge of premeditated murder to one of "murder by negligence".

David House, an international crisis agency working with the family, said the defence lawyer was expected to get a full briefing on the verdict within days.

A website created to publicise the case said Matthew, a Stanford-trained engineer, had moved to Qatar with his wife and their three young children in 2012 to help oversee a big infrastructure project related to the 2022 soccer World Cup.

Gloria died on Jan. 15, 2013 and Qatari police charged the couple the next day. The website said the other children had been put in an orphanage.

No detailed explanation of the charges has been published, but the website said Qatari officials had concluded "that the murder may have been done in order to harvest her organs or to conduct medical experiments on her".

The pair spent nearly a year in prison before being released on their own recognizance, but were not allowed to leave Qatar, the website said.

The judge said they had also been fined QR15,000 ($4,100) and would be expelled after completing their sentences.

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Posted by: 2fillsworth

Qatari officials had concluded "that the murder may have been done in order to harvest her organs or to conduct medical experiments on her'

Well that certainly shows the extent of the sense of logic of the authorities.

So no proof has been given to show they deliberately murdered their adopted child, nor have they outlined the actual charges they have been convicted of.

Add this to the jail sentences of the owners of the Villagio Mall and nursery which have not been upheld nor enforced and it shows the level of quality and reliance of the Qatari legal system.

Posted by: Awi

Dear Aziz,
Doctors and Nurses attested to the girls rare medical condition. There was nothing that could have been done in a hospital to save her. You are wrong to think that justice was done.
I feel sorry for the Huangs. It shows on what thin thread your life hangs when living in Qatar.

Posted by: Aziz

So people here write if what Qatar did is wrong or right. I will ask all of you to think with a simple logic, if you have a child that is not eating for any reason, will you not take her to hospitals on and on until this problem in her eating habit is resolved?!

I wish if they were sentenced for 10 or 20 years in Jail and not such a limited time. Regardless of Qatari's authority view's, their daughter has died, so anyone here to feel sorry for the dead child or we feel sorry for the the parents who just did not have the brain to take her to hospitals and doctors. If they did that they would have enough evidence to show that it is not their mistake, and it is nature calls on this poor child body, but the simple fact that such effort was not done by the these two who are jailed means they did not care. So to hell with them.

Hats down to Qatar Authorities for showing a punishment for such people.

Posted by: Paul

Another pearl from Qatar.
I feel sorry for all the victims that are mistreated in Qatar.

Posted by: Canuck

Qatar mentality.....when in doubt....jail them. Qatar is doing a great PR job leading up to the 2022. One pathetic story after another. If they aren't making enemies of their fellow GCC nations, they are allowing workers to die to build their stadia.

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