Matthew and Grace Huang are an American couple from Los Angeles who moved to Qatar with their three young children in 2012. Matthew’s American employer had asked Matthew, a Stanford-trained engineer, to go to Qatar to help oversee a major infrastructure project related to the 2022 World Cup improvements. On January 15, 2013, the Huangs’ eight year-old daughter, Gloria, died unexpectedly in Doha. Gloria had not been ill, at least not outwardly so. Her body showed no signs of trauma or other violence. Nevertheless, the Qatari police immediately suspected foul play. They arrested the Huangs the next day and put the Huangs’ other two children in an orphanage. Qatari officials subsequently charged Matthew and Grace with murdering Gloria, concluded thier plan was to harvest her organs or to conduct medical experiments on her, and accused the Huangs of obtaining all three of their children via human trafficking. If convicted, the minimum sentence facing the Huangs was 25 years in prison, but prosecutors sought the death penalty. As their trial started and stopped, the Huangs spent nearly a year in a Qatari jail, before being released on their own recognizance after the evidence portion of their trial concluded in November 2013. They remained barred from leaving Qatar while awaiting the outcome of their trial.
The Qatari court scheduled that the verdict would be announced on March 27, 2014. On that day, the court sentenced Matthew and Grace to three years in prison. Inexplicably, the court did not render a verdict of any kind – it did not find Matthew and Grace guilty or not guilty of murder or any other crimes. It simply sentenced them to prison and imposed a fine of 15,000 Qatar Riyals (USD $4,100). They are innocent and their continued detention in Qatar is a gross violation of their rights as established in the United Nations Charter on Human Rights.
The Huangs are represented by:
Lewis and Roca is a large commercial law firm that is also known for its strong pro bono commitment to criminal justice, handling such landmark cases as Miranda v. Arizona (1966) and in recent years several cases where parents or other caretakers have been falsely accused of murdering a child based on medical evidence that has been misinterpreted. Because it has concluded that the Huangs are innocent, Lewis and Roca is representing the Huangs pro bono.
The California Innocence Project (www.californiainnocenceproject.org) is a non profit organization dedicated to releasing wrongfully convicted individuals in cases where there is strong evidence of factual innocence. They review approximately 2,000 cases per year and select less than 20. Based on its review of the facts, they have certified that the Huangs are innocent.