36 C
Doha
Monday, July 26, 2021

Huangs launch video appeal as court case continues

-

With reporting by Riham Sheble

To raise awareness about their conviction in Qatar, an American couple facing three years in jail after the death of their eight-year-old daughter have posted a video on Youtube telling their story.

The release of the video comes as the couple struggles to meet legal bills, according to their supporters. It also coincides with Matthew and Grace Huang’s second appearance today in Qatar’s Court of Appeals, where their defense attorney is trying to get their March conviction overturned.

At the same time, the prosecutor is pushing for a longer jail sentence for the couple, who spent 11 months in detention last year before being released on their own recognizance. They remain out of jail for now, but are banned from leaving the country.

Today, the court decided to merge the two defense and prosecutor appeals and hear them together on June 16.

Gloria was adopted from Ghana by the Huangs when she was four years old. The Huangs said because she spent her early years in poverty, the child was fighting an eating disorder that caused her to binge on food and then refuse to eat for several days at a time.

‘Kidnapped’

The new six-minute video was posted online by the David House International Crisis Agency, a group that has been working on the Huangs’ case.

It includes footage of Gloria smiling and playing with her two adopted brothers. It also has interviews with the Huangs, and appearances from one of their American lawyers, a doctor and a US State Department spokeswoman. All express concerns about the couple’s conviction, in light of a lack of evidence.

In his judgement, the lead judge on the case in Qatar also cited a lack of proof as the reason for not convicting the Huangs of murder, the prosecutor’s original charge.

Matthew and Grace Huang outside the lower Doha court after their conviction.
Matthew and Grace Huang outside the lower Doha court after their conviction.

Judge Abdullah Al Emadi wrote, as translated into English, that police officers’ testimony that Gloria was locked up in her room and starved to death “is nothing but a presumption not supported by evidence in papers, and is therefore no more than an opinion that may be true or not.”

He continued:

“In addition, the medical examiner didn’t confirm the victim was starved to death, contrary to what the investigators said… the court concludes that the victim was not denied food.”

However, the judge asserted that he found the Huangs guilty of manslaughter as a result of negligence because Gloria abstained from eating for four days, and her parents had not taken her to a doctor.

Not seeking help exposed Gloria, who was under 16, to danger, even though the couple was tasked with preserving and caring for her, Al Emadi said.

In the video, Matt Huang publicly spoke about the decision not to take Gloria to a doctor for the first time, saying:

“We did not take Gloria to the hospital when she was refusing to eat because we believed she would come out of these hunger strikes as she had done before. She was lively and active and there was no reason to suspect any concern for her health.”

The video ends with a public appeal to help the couple by writing to the US Congress, sending letters of support to the Huangs, donating to their legal fund and signing a petition for their release.

That document, which would be sent to US Secretary of State John Kerry; Mohammed Jaham Al Kuwari, Ambassador of the State of Qatar; and Susan L. Ziadeh, U.S. Ambassador to the State of Qatar, has already garnered some 166,000 signatures.

Thoughts?

48 COMMENTS

Subscribe
Notify of
48 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Taweela
Taweela
7 years ago

This is a strange case indeed. I just wonder, how come on their video are no pictures from their live in Qatar? Why is that?

Doc
Doc
7 years ago
Reply to  Taweela

They probably couldn’t find any happy moments from Qatar………….

KJD
KJD
7 years ago

I don’t believe they intended for their daughter to die, but I also believe that they failed to get their daughter the medical help that she needed and are therefore partially responsible for her death. At the same time, I don’t think that prison will serve any purpose. They are already being punished because they no longer have their daughter, and since I don’t think that they intentionally contributed to the death there is no need of rehabilitation. So what purpose would putting them in prison serve?

George Zimmerman
George Zimmerman
7 years ago
Reply to  KJD

They contributed significantly to the death. ‘But for’ the couple not providing proper medical care, the child wouldn’t have died. They were convicted of manslaughter which does not need to show intent since you said it yourself, they were negligent.

KJD
KJD
7 years ago

Well, technically we have no way of knowing if the child would have died or not had they sought medical care. They could have sough medical care and the child could have still died. Or they could have sought medical care and the child may have survived. We can’t predict what might have happened, we can only know what did happen. I completely agree they were negligent. However, I still maintain that there is no purpose that can be served by imprisonment.

George Zimmerman
George Zimmerman
7 years ago
Reply to  KJD

This is the law, if they were negligent (as you stated) then they are guilty. They have a duty of care to the child to seek medical help, even if the child was facing inevitable death. By their omission, they have directly affected the child and have contributed significantly to his death.

Observant One
Observant One
7 years ago

However no causation has been established by a qualified forensic pathologist. No causation then not guilty. Causation needs to be established by a forensic pathologist and evidence given of such. The child dies yes, very tragic, but it has never been established what the cause was….ie kidney malfunction due to dehydration etc etc. Not eating is not a cause of death a fatal reaction of a body organ as a result of lack of nutrients or hydration is the cause of death. Without causation no one can really state that their actions did or did not contribute to the death of this poor child.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

People need to eat to stay alive. We may not know what specifically went wrong in her body due to not eating, but without nutrition, the body will stop functioning.

Observant One
Observant One
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Too right. But from a legal standpoint cause of death must be established. How do we not know she died of a cause not related to her not eating? We don’t because a forensic pathologist has not linked the lack of nutrition to the cause of death.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago
Reply to  KJD

Taking your sick child to the doctor is called due diligence. She may have very well died even had they taken her to the doctor, but then again, maybe the doctor could have saved her. It comes down to due diligence.

anonymous
anonymous
7 years ago

What you’ve said is valid but should be qualified ‘in an ideal world’. In this context ‘proper medical care’ is an oxymoron.

hohum
hohum
7 years ago

Right from the start the judicial system causes too much unnecessary damage. From my own personal experience police investigations are grossly inadequate. I was imprisoned by accusation alone.

I was accused of raping a student. When I was asked to visit capitol police I went there with no clue of what I would be accused of. I was locked in a cell for 4 hours, still without any indication of what I was being accused of. I was lead into a police lineup with other people who looked nothing like me, being a white Australian all the others in the line up looked Indian or Pakistani. I was pointed out in the line up from a small figure behind the glass. I started to believe it was related to my work as a PE teacher. I was walked into a room where I was interrogated and asked if there would be any reason for me being asked to come in. The only thing I could think of was that my girlfriend was flying in to visit me but thought that would not be a crime so I did not mention it.

I was shown a photo of just a mouth and asked if I knew the person. I had no idea who it was nor realised that there was a rash around the mouth. I was then told her name and still did not know who she was as it was the start of a new school year. I was then informed that I had caused this girls rash by violently kissing her and that I had touched her in her secret area.

At this point I was still of the belief that this was a simple misunderstanding and would be sorted within the afternoon.

I was imprisoned that afternoon for 2 weeks.

To my understanding at no point did the police come into the school to investigate the alleged scene of the crime. They had very little understanding of how public the area was and that this would be a terrible location to attempt such a crime.

The medical report came back in my favour. I had spent the previous 2 weeks fearing that she had actually been raped and that I would be blamed for it.

It was established to me through the original police witness statements that her parents had questioned her for 3 weeks about her facial rash but she could not explain to them how it occurred. The accusation was first disclosed to her aunty after a 4 hour talk. It was also stated that the girl was VOLUNTARILY returning to get things she left from my lessons. In court it was established that the father never took her to the doctor but had taken a photo dated from the first week of school.

I was eventually found innocent but still deported.

I have currently been through the civil courts seeking damages caused by the false accusation. The judge has implied that the father was simply exercising his right to complain and that my innocence does not give me a right to compensation.

The judge in my case is implying that it is ok not to seek professional medical advice if you are concerned about your child. Whereas in the case of the Huangs they are being persecuted for it.

The damage is done before the accused has a chance to defend themselves.

Still waiting for justice.

Zaheer
Zaheer
7 years ago
Reply to  hohum

sorry to hear .. n glad u shared it

KJD
KJD
7 years ago
Reply to  hohum

Your story really has nothing to do with the article. If you want an article about your situation you should contact Dohanews and try to convince them to do an article all about you.

desertCard
desertCard
7 years ago
Reply to  KJD

I believe he explained the relevance in the last paragraph.

osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
7 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

I believe he explains his story every time he comments…

desertCard
desertCard
7 years ago
Reply to  osamaalassiry

True but the frustration he must feel. Not only was he falsely accused but he lost his job and was deported for basically no reason. Hard to judge unless you’re in those shoes. And justice here does seem a bit arbitrary.

osamaalassiry
osamaalassiry
7 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

Sure, but to me, this is just a person going online under the name hohum, claiming something by typing a story… I don’t personally know him, or the events referred to in his story, so I don’t judge anything by it. Nothing at all. Not for. Not against. I know nothing.

A_qtr
A_qtr
7 years ago
Reply to  hohum

Is every comment by you has to do with the case of you being accused of rapping a child

hohum
hohum
7 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

When you are denied justice you feel the need to repeat yourself so others know there are inconstancies in how the law is applied.

desertCard
desertCard
7 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Walk in his shoes then judge.

KK
KK
7 years ago

I can only share this type of stories with my friends back home; otherwise they will not believe me what is happening in Qatar.

Still not satisfied
Still not satisfied
7 years ago
Reply to  KK

Seems to me a lot of the pictures near the end are from their life in Qatar.

A_qtr
A_qtr
7 years ago
Reply to  KK

You mean of parents not feeding their kids for four dAys ?

Doc
Doc
7 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Can you read? The child refused food for 4 days (regularly) There is a big difference in what you wrongly put and the reported facts of refusing food.
Unless you have experience in looking after a poor african adopted girl with an eating disorder your comments are as valid as mine on Nuclear Physics.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago
Reply to  Doc

What flawed logic you have here. If your child doesn’t eat for days then you take her to the doctor, that’s just common sense and is in no way compared to a field of science like nuclear physics.

Doc
Doc
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

You are showing your ignorance. We would take our normal healthy child to a doctor straight away as it would not to normal for a child to not eat for 4 days. If you or I had a daughter with an eating disorder who regularly didn’t eat for 4 days why would you keep going to the doctor? It’s a disorder that she and the family lived with and something you and I know nothing about fortunately. This is the problem with the whole case as people do not understand the eating disorder. As a side point its not stated anywhere that the poor girl died from starvation to its a pointless argument. Had a proper autopsy been carried out this story would of been finished a long time ago.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago
Reply to  KK

Yeah, yeah, sure, because back home is everything is rosy and dandy, which explains why you’re here!

KK
KK
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Yes, you are right and in addition, I get paid a hugh USD salary net of taxes. Thank you. See you next time in the qatar airways lounge on my monthly trip home.

George Zimmerman
George Zimmerman
7 years ago

They were negligent…i’m sure they did not intend for this to happen but they still should be guilty of manslaughter since intention is not there. It is foreseeable for them to know that 4 days of a hunger strike would lead to the child’s death. (Neighbour Principle)

George Zimmerman
George Zimmerman
7 years ago

They have a duty of care towards their children to ensure they do not suffer any unreasonable detriment to health or safety which is under ‘special relationship’. Thus a parent who omits to feed or properly care for their child may face criminal repercussions for subsequent death or injury. An early example of this principle was given by the case of R v Gibbins & Proctor, where the court ruled that it was so self-evident that it did not require analysis or authority. In upholding convictions for murder resulting from two parent’s starvation of their child.

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
7 years ago

If you knew the details of the case, you would know that neither the Qatari autopsy nor the USA one determined the cause of death to be starvation (as a start, watch the video this article is about…) therefore the 4 day hunger strike is irrelevant and a moot point.

Also, the case which you mention (R v Gibbins & Proctor) has no relevance or precedence in this country, again making your point a moot point and irrelevant.

Lastly, even if the case you cited had relevance, mens rea (“guilty mind”) needs to be established in order for this case to have precedence, and clearly mens rea has not been established. In the case you cite, the lover of the father was tasked with watching the child. The lover clearly despised the child and there was evidence of this. Far different than loving parents who are working through their child’s difficult past with clearly no mens rea involved.

By the way, intentionally withholding food is quite different from a child who refuses to eat.

Observant One
Observant One
7 years ago
Reply to  Expat Girl

Well said, the first element of proof for murder and manslaughter is cause of death which is determined by and evidence given by the forensic pathologist. No causation has been established therefore not guilty, its as simple as that. Mens rea does not need to be established although as one can be reckless (with its whole different states on mind, ie appreciable risk etc) in a manslaughter matter, you only have to prove malice aforethought for murder. What needs to be established first and foremost is the cause of death, not by Doha News commenters, not by would be detectives , not by real detectives, not by lawyers but by a suitably qualified forensic pathologist.

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
7 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

Couldn’t agree more Observant One, well said.

koko
koko
7 years ago

It’s a bit ironic you are saying they are guilty with no proof yet you hold the name of a murderer who was set free.. is this coincidence or double standards?? Sorry I don’t know who u are or if this is your real name.. if it is.. my apologies…

Michael Pearson
Michael Pearson
7 years ago

It makes me sad that you are so quick to condemn the actions of others that you do not know, let alone do so without being aware of the exact circumstances leading to the event.

Am I saying they aren’t guilty? No.

I’m saying it’s disheartening how enthusiastic you seem to be about proclaiming their fault and giving them their sentence.

“Your job is not to judge. Your job is not to figure out if someone deserves something. Your job is to lift the fallen, to restore the broken, and to heal the hurting.”

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago

“It makes me sad that you are so quick to condemn the actions of others that you do not know, let alone do so without being aware of the exact circumstances leading to the event” Really? And yet, how often do see expats here doing just that when the accused party is Qatari!

Expat Girl
Expat Girl
7 years ago

For anyone who wants the Huangs to be released, please sign the petition, the link is below. It is free and takes 2 seconds. Better yet, sign it and send it to all of your friends!!

https://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/free-matt-and-grace-innocent-americans-imprisoned-in-qatar

guest
guest
7 years ago

I don’t think it is “foreseeable to know that a 4 day hunger strike would lead to the child’s death” The whole point of this is that there was, and is, no medical evidence that she died due to starvation or lack of medical treatment. There was no accurate autopsy. Everything else said is only personal opinion and hearsay. These parents have already served a year and a half’s time separated and away from their remaining children and family, have been separated from each other for 11 months of that time, not been allowed to grieve or go home. All that based on opinion and hearsay, with no adequate nor accurate evidence, and while the judicial system scrambles around with delaying tactics in order to come up with some other acceptable reasoning for their continued imprisonment, this couple is left in torturous limbo. And for what you say? For something that was “foreseeable” or -in your opinion- negligent? Might I ask if you have any similar experiences with children? She was walking around, talking and laughing with her siblings the day before she died. Why would any parent head to the ER with that? It is very easy to stand back and judge on what you think should have been done. But until you have been in it and have walked in their very shoes, the only thing that matters in court now is the medical evidence, of which there is NONE, in this case. It is past time to allow the Huangs to go home. Move on to bigger, badder fish, criminals who commit their crimes with full knowledge and intent to harm.

anonymous
anonymous
7 years ago

Faced with the decision between trusting my own judgement as a parent in nursing my sick child versus subjecting them to the traumatic experience of a chaotic Qatari hospital (government and/or private) with ridiculous waiting times regardless of appointments or emergencies, third world medical staff who barely speak English and have no concept of patient care, who forcibly take your child out of your arms, restrain them as they thrash in desperation as they are subjected to unnecessarily harsh treatment, do not allow mothers and fathers to hold their child or stay together in the segregated emergency centers, taking away any ability to discuss and agree on treatments, I choose my judgement. Especially if the situation is a familiar one. And I’m betting anyone who has seen the inside of Hamad’s emergency (forgot to mention good luck finding a pediatrician on duty) would feel the same.

Taweela
Taweela
7 years ago

As a parent you have a duty to take care of your child. If the child goes on non eating spells you make at least sure they get liquid foods or make sure they drink healthy things to sustain this period. If a child goes for 4 days without food or drink any parent would take that child to a doctor/hospital. How many times did they take their child to a doctor here in Qatar? When was her last complete health check? How worried were they about her eating troubles? What was the past history on all this? This should show evidence of caring or not caring. I just wonder about this as nothing about her past medical evidence/history is mentioned, just ” she had troubles going on these episodes”. I did not see any pictures of her here in Qatar. There is no smoke without fire. Is there just smoke here or a big fire?

Doc
Doc
7 years ago
Reply to  Taweela

“As a parent you have a duty to take care of your child. If the child goes on non eating spells you make at least sure they get liquid foods or make sure they drink healthy things to sustain this period.” How do you know the poor child did not drink healthy things? You are assuming which it sees has been the problem with this farcical case from the start.

Taweela
Taweela
7 years ago
Reply to  Doc

Exactly, I do not know, nor do I judge. I just ask the questions and wonder.

cookie monster
cookie monster
7 years ago

Little Gloria’s story is devastating and stressful. As an Early Childhood teacher, who works with and cherishes children there aren’t enough words to describe how furious I feel. The Huang’s story is sketchy and confusing at best, and eerie and sinister at the worst. Having said this, I feel so proud to be residing in a country where it seems that justice does prevail. I say this because the Judge’s sentence was one of the most partial I’ve ever heard. It’s logical: there is not enough evidence to prove the Huang’s ‘starved’ the little angel (despite the attending officer giving his ‘opinion’) On the flip side, who would lock a child, who has not eaten for days, up, and not realize that she is close to death? The Huang’s case is anything but straight forward- they seem like loving, decent people. Perhaps they are- perhaps they were so overwrought that they misjudged the situation (which is something I find personally difficult to accept). The sentencing judge was both thorough and fair. The Huang’s were negligent (and guilty) in not realizing how bad little Gloria’s state was, in my opinion that warrants a penalty- and manslaughter seems logical. I was raised and have lived in the West for over 30 years and I’ve seen very few instances where legal representation has not flouted human rights, lied and manipulated the case to success for the guilty. In some instances they walk free from the court, when so much evidence is stacked against them. I feel I need to add that upon arriving to Qatar my family and I were subjected to a road rage incident, the other party a local Qatari. Without evidence (only a numbers from a number plate) we presented to the police station who searched for the man. The police found him and summons him immediately. He arrived immediately. Upon where he admitted to everything we accused him of, upfront, where he was subsequently incarcerated until OUR pardon. Sounds far fetched, but every word is true. I cannot imagine the long drawn up process it would have been in the West, attempting to get our rights. Nor could I imagine the alleged rocking up the police station and saying ‘yes I’m guilty, sorry was having a bad day, what can I do to make it up to you? I’m writing this post as I’m over ‘guests’ whinging about the locals getting preferential treatment. I’m (almost) glad this situation played out early in our stay as it gave us confidence that we’re in a country where if we go about our business (and mind our business) be grateful for everything that Qatar has offered (seriously where else would anyone get the good treatment/perks received here in Qatar- be honest!) there is nothing to fear. Especially from those who fear their Creator.

darby.qa
darby.qa
7 years ago

For the Huangs it was tragically unfortunate, but I believe the court was fair in considering the circumstances. Although the system is slow and unfair, it seems to have worked. About negligence, if a parent raises an obese child and the child suffers from various related illnesses that may or may not lead to death, the parent should be incarcerated? If a parent with dangerous driving habits, passes them on to his child and someone is killed, the parent should be accused of murder?

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago

I see some of the usual comments on how the Huangs would not be on trial if this had happened in the U.S. or elsewhere. I suggest you look up the case of Christina Corrigan who was a young girl of thirteen who weighed 680lbs at the time of her death. Her mother later was arrested and charged with child abuse pending accounts that Christina had been found covered in bed sores and in feces. Marlene her mother was later convicted of misdemeanor child abuse.

http://fivehundredpoundpeeps.blogspot.com/2010/12/betrayal-of-christina-corrigan-thirteen.html

Doc
Doc
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

And the relevance is?

Lynn
Lynn
7 years ago

Is there a petition to sign on behalf of Gloria, I would like our US Officials to represent her lost sweet life and allow justice to take place; negligence of her parents should not go un-punishable; she must have shown signs of physical collapse after a day or two, four days? they have done nothing? she is the victim, they are not; justice speaks on behalf of a sweet child that gone without care; I salute the system in Qatar, pretty fast, objective and fair; the employer was amazing by continue paying a salary for an entire year, of course the father was ungrateful expecting an extend pay, never seen anything like this anywhere else; please run a petition for Gloria, her soul rest in peace !!!

Related Articles

- Advertisment -

Most Read

Subscribe to Doha News below!

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.