DOHA — A Los Angeles couple was sentenced to three years in jail on Thursday in Qatar for causing the death of their adopted African-born 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 when their 8-year-old daughter, Gloria, died unexpectedly.
An autopsy found she had died of “forced starvation” and malnutrition. But the couple argued she 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 Huang said. “This verdict is wrong and appears to be nothing more than an effort to save face.”
A website begun to publicize 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.
The 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 offense the couple had been convicted of, but the prosecution had earlier downgraded an original charge of premeditated murder to one of “murder by negligence.”
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.