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Qatar jails US couple

DOHA, March 27, (AFP): A Qatari court on Thursday sentenced a US couple from Los Angeles to three years in prison for causing the death of their adopted eight-year-old daughter. Matthew and Grace Huang were arrested in January 2013 after their daughter Gloria from an orphanage in Ghana died. They were accused of causing her death in order to sell her organs. The court also ordered the couple to pay a fine of 15,000 riyals ($4,100) each and to be deported after serving their sentence. But reading the verdict, the judge did not specify the exact charges for which the Huangs were convicted.

The couple, who say the child had an eating disorder, called on US President Barack Obama, who visits neighbouring Saudi Arabia on Friday, to intervene in the case. They have two weeks to appeal. “We have just been wrongfully convicted and we feel as if we are being kidnapped by the Qatar judicial system,” Matthew Huang said in a statement read to reporters outside the court. “This verdict is wrong and appears to be nothing more than an effort to save face,” he said. “We are calling on United States President Obama to call the head of state in Qatar and explain to him why American families adopt high-needs children,” said Huang. He said the ruling must be “overturned immediately and we should be allowed to go home”.

 

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