US Couple Sues Firm That Sent Them to Qatar

Freed from jail, Huangs say their race put them in danger
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2014 11:06 AM CST
US Couple Sues Firm That Sent Them to Qatar
In this photo posted on the Twitter account of the David House Agency, Matthew Huang, top right, and his wife Grace, left, greet family members or friends upon their arrival in the United States.   (AP Photo/David House Agency)

Matt and Grace Huang are finally home after a nightmare that saw them jailed in Qatar, and they're wasting no time in demanding justice from Matt's former bosses. MWH Global, which sent the couple to Qatar to help improve its infrastructure, didn't prepare or shield them from the dangers of prejudice in the country, the suit says; in Qatar, the complaint holds, East Asians are considered among the lowest "racial classes of individuals," mixed-race families face discrimination, and adoption is banned, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Huangs came to Qatar with three adopted children who are black; the parents were blamed in the death of their daughter, who, the suit says, had been diagnosed with a parasitic eating disorder. In prison, Matt was assaulted, including sexually, and when he was released, the couple had to wear disguises to go out, the suit holds.

Police "thought we were human traffickers. They said we adopted our children to either harvest their organs or to do medical tests on them," Matt tells CBS. The family ended up $2 million in debt after selling their house to grapple with legal costs. MWH contests the suit's claims. The company "met with US Embassy officials, helped arrange legal counsel, checked in on the welfare of Matt and Grace and their children, and attended initial court hearings," it says. It also offered Matt the option of returning to his job following the ordeal, but he chose to resign, the firm says; Matt says he was pushed out. The family tells CBS the US also came up short: "I felt like the US government was unwilling to rock the boat and unwilling to make a strong stance with knowing that we were innocent," Matt says. (More Qatar stories.)

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