Wrongly Convicted Couple Detained in Qatar Return to California
Matthew and Grace Huang are en route back to California today after an appeals court cleared them of all charges in the 2013 death of their adopted daughter Gloria.
The couple attempted to leave Qatar on Sunday but was blocked from boarding their flight by local officials, who said another appeal had been filed. A spokesperson for the State Department later said paperwork rescinding the travel ban had not yet been processed and caused the delay.
The Huangs were arrested when Gloria, 8, died from severe malnutrition after being rushed to a Doha hospital in a coma.
According to Justin Brooks of the California Innocence Project, who provided the couple with legal council during the trial, Gloria suffered from a parasitic condition which interferes with absorption of nutrients from food.
“From time to time she would exhibit an eating disorder — common among children with backgrounds similar to hers — where she would refuse food for days at a time and then eat more than an adult,” Brooks said. “Other times she would eat food from the garbage even when she had healthy food available.”
The Huangs were convicted of child endangerment and sentenced to three years in March. During the trial and appeal, the couple’s two remaining adopted children were initially placed in a Qatari orphanage but were eventually allowed to return to the U.S. to live with relatives in California. The couple hasn’t seen their sons since their arrest.
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