Couple in Qatar to Present Defense to Child Starvation Charges

An American couple is to be permitted Wednesday to respond to charges they starved their daughter, intending to sell her organs. Matthew and Grace Huang have been in jail since the 8-year-old’s death in January, with no opportunity to present any defense. They went to Qatar in July 2012 for Matthew, an engineer, to work on preparations for the World Cup to be held in 2022.

The Huangs adopted all three of their children from Africa. According to their supporters, Gloria, the child who died, suffered a severe eating disorder due to her hungry life before adoption. She would binge on food and sometimes go days without eating.

A Qatari medical examiner concluded Gloria died of starvation and dehydration but has provided no test results or photos to support that opinion. Janice Ophoven, a pediatric forensic pathologist working for the defense, has rejected the opinion because Gloria “was seen functioning and walking just a day before dying.”

The allegation of child trafficking to sell organs may arise from Qatari misunderstandings of adoption as practiced in America. One investigator testified at an earlier hearing, “The adoption process consists of searching for children who are good-looking and well-behaved, and who have hereditary features that are similar to those of the parents. But the children connected to this incident are all from Africa, and most of the families there are indigent.”

More detail is available here.