Matthew and Grace Huang, an American Christian couple who were accused of killing their eight-year-old adopted daughter while living in Qatar, were acquitted on Sunday. The couple was reportedly stopped by security when they tried to leave Qatar after the aquittal.
The Huangs’ daughter Gloria was adopted from Africa along with her two brothers. She died in January 2013 from malnutrition and dehydration after suffering from an eating disorder.
A website that campaigns for the Huangs’ release says, "From time to time she [Gloria] 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. Other times she would eat food from the garbage even when she had healthy food available. Yet most of the time she was vibrant and seemingly healthy. She then died suddenly in the midst of one of her cycles of refusing to eat."
The Christian couple was convicted with exposing their child to danger in March 2014 with a penalty of three years in prison, but the ruling was overturned in an appeal. Supporters of the family suggest that the accusation was based off of cultural differences; interracial families are unusual in Qatar.
Secretary of State John Kerry said, "The 22 long months of court proceedings following their daughter's tragic death have compounded the tragedy for the Huang family, and it is time now, as the Appeals Court stated, to let the Huangs return home."
Publication date: December 2, 2014