Appeal verdict next month for U.S. couple convicted in Qatar

The couple was arrested early 2013 after the death of their adopted daughter, and accused of starving her to death

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A Qatari court said Monday it would rule next month on a U.S. couple's appeal of a jail sentence on charges of parental neglect leading to the death of their daughter.

Matthew and Grace Huang were arrested in January 2013 after the death of their eight-year-old daughter Gloria, who was adopted from an orphanage in Ghana.


The couple, who are of Asian descent, were initially accused of starving to death their child to sell her organs but were later jailed for three years on reduced charges of parental neglect.

The pair appeared Monday in court, where a forensic pathologist testified and said Gloria's corpse showed signs that she had not eaten for days.

"I found no signs of food in her stomach and the whole intestine, and I found no other reasons for death," said the expert Anees Mahmud.

But the Huangs have insisted that Gloria died of an eating disorder rooted in a troubled early childhood.

The couple were released in November last year pending trial, but the court denied their request to leave the country to join their other two adopted children in the United States.

Both adoption and multiracial families are rare in Qatar, a conservative Gulf Arab emirate, and the family's supporters maintain Qatari authorities misunderstood the Huangs' situation.

The public prosecutor had pushed for the death penalty for the Huangs.

In addition to imprisonment, the court ordered the couple to pay a fine of 15,000 riyals ($4,100) each and to be deported after serving their sentence.

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