The American couple held in Qatar for more than a year after their daughter's death are, for the first time, accusing the prosecution of fabricating medical evidence surrounding their daughter's autopsy, the New York Times reports. Matthew and Grace Huang are charged with murdering their 8-year-old daughter Gloria by withholding food and water. They say the girl, adopted from Africa, did not eat for four days because she had an eating disorder often seen in children who grew up in poverty; Qatar police, however, accused the Huangs of being child traffickers looking to sell Gloria's organs. Now the Huangs want the country's attorney general to open a formal investigation into the prosecution's medical evidence. Their trial concluded Feb. 5, and a verdict is expected March 27; they face the death penalty.
The Huangs' lawyers and other advocates have long questioned the autopsy that was done in Qatar, claiming it was inconclusive and flawed. A second autopsy was conducted in the US after Gloria's body was flown back, and that physician found no evidence that brain tissue or tissue from other organs was removed for analysis, which should have been standard. The Qatar prosecutor claimed the organs were microscopically examined, but the pathology report submitted did not include any photographs or samples, and the defense was never allowed to examine fluids or samples before the trial—leading the defense to believe the tissue samples in question never actually existed and the report is a fake. So far there has been no response from the attorney general, though the Huangs' lawyer says, "I find it difficult to believe we won’t get a response given the significance of the allegation." The issue could elevate tensions between the US and Qatar, an important ally in the Arab world. (Read more murder trial stories.)