US couple cleared in daughter`s death leave Qatar
A US couple flew out of Doha on Wednesday after a three-day holdup since a Qatari appeals court cleared them of wrongdoing in their adopted daughter`s death.
Doha: A US couple flew out of Doha on Wednesday after a three-day holdup since a Qatari appeals court cleared them of wrongdoing in their adopted daughter`s death.
"Wheels are up," their representative Eric Volz, who is accompanying Matthew and Grace Huang on the plane, said on Twitter, posting a picture of the couple smiling on the aircraft.
American ambassador to Qatar Dana Shell Smith, who had escorted them through immigration, also Tweeted: "Matt and Grace Huang are wheels up from Qatar. Emotional. These are the moments all diplomats live for."
Their flight was en route for Los Angeles.
A Doha appeals court on Sunday acquitted the pair of parental neglect in the death of eight-year-old Gloria, who had been adopted from an orphanage in Ghana, and said they were free to leave.
But they were prevented from doing so when they first arrived at the airport later that day.
In a statement late Tuesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the US embassy in Doha had now been told that "no further appeal will be filed" and that the Huangs will finally be permitted to go.
"The United States applauds this decision, and we look forward to seeing the Huangs reunited with their children at home."
The pair, who are of Asian descent, were arrested in January 2013.
They were initially accused of starving Gloria to death to sell her organs, but later jailed for three years for parental neglect.
A forensic pathologist told the court in October that Gloria`s body 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.
The court had, however, cited a statement by Gloria`s brother Immanuel who testified that the parents had provided food for their children.
The couple insisted that Gloria died of an eating disorder rooted in a troubled early childhood.
They were released in November 2013 pending an appeal, but the court at the time denied their request to leave Qatar to join their other two adopted children in the United States.
Adoption and multiracial families are rare in Qatar, a conservative Arab emirate, and the family`s supporters maintain that the authorities there misunderstood the Huangs` situation.
The public prosecutor had originally pushed for the death penalty for the couple.
The Huangs moved to Qatar in 2012 for Matthew, an engineer, to work on infrastructure projects linked to the 2022 football World Cup.