US Couple Guilty of Girl's Unexplained Death in Qatar

Huangs will appeal 3-year sentence
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2014 8:41 AM CDT
US Couple Guilty of Girl's Unexplained Death in Qatar
Matthew and Grace Huang, charged with starving to death their 8-year-old adopted daughter, speak outside a courthouse before their trial in Doha, Qatar, Thursday, March 27, 2014.   (AP Photo/Osama Faisal)

They haven't been handed death sentences, but the verdict in Matthew and Grace Huang's high-profile trial is not one they're celebrating. The American couple held in Qatar after adopted daughter Gloria's mysterious death in January 2013 have been found guilty and sentenced to three years in jail, after which they'll be deported, the New York Times reports. Though what they were convicted of wasn't made clear by the judge, the prosecution had earlier reduced a charge of premeditated murder to one of "murder by negligence," Reuters reports. "We have just been wrongfully convicted and we feel as if we are being kidnapped by the Qatar judicial system," Matthew Huang said outside the courtroom.

The Huangs have blasted prosecutors for fabricating medical evidence and accusing the couple "of trafficking our legally adopted children with the intent of selling their organs. That is how ridiculous this is." Continued Matthew Huang, "This verdict should be overturned immediately and we should be allowed to go home." But the couple's lawyer said he was "satisfied with the verdict" as it means he proved the 8-year-old's death "was not an intentional, premeditated murder." The Huangs will now appeal the decision—a process likely to start in May—and will remain free while they do so, he added. In the meantime, Matthew Huang said he wants President Obama "to call the head of state in Qatar and explain to him why American families adopt high-needs children." Click for more on Gloria's death, which the Huangs attributed to eating issues tied to her childhood in Ghana. (More Qatar stories.)

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