A Well Thought Out Scream : Christian Couple Released From Prison
An Asian American couple has been released from Qatar prison after serving nearly a year. Matthew and Grace Huang’s story is a classic example of clashing cultures. Some things that are praised and highly regarded in one culture can be so suspicious in another that they may lead to your arrest—especially in the Mideast. The couple, who are both Christians, were convicted of intentionally starving their adopted daughter, but a higher court overturned the decision based upon faulty forensic reports. The authorities in Qatar suspected the couple of human trafficking and organ harvesting because they adopted three black children from Africa. Grace Huang’s sister, Joanne Chin, reported that the couple believed in the purpose and need of adoption and intentionally adopted high needs children. But that’s not how Qatar officials saw it. Matthew Huang told television journalist Katie Couric that he believed the accusations had to do with race. “I believe that authorities in Qatar suspected foul play because we are Asian and we adopted three children from Africa who are black.”
The Los Angeles based couple had moved to the Arabic nation in 2012 so that Matthew could work on constructing sites for the 2022 World Cup, but when 8 year old Gloria died in January of 2013, they were arrested. The adopted daughter, from Ghana, had a history of malnutrition but Qatar officials charged the couple with starving their daughter in order to sell her organs.
The couple was imprisoned for ten months until they appealed their conviction and Appellate Judge Abdulrahman al-Sharafi overturned the verdict. Joanne Chin launched a Change.org petition urging for their release and obtained over 17, 000 signatures. Though freed, the couple was still banned from returning to the United States but officials lifted the travel ban after U.S. Ambassador to Qatar Dana Smith with the assistance of Secretary of State John Kerry, filed a motion on the couple’s behalf.
The Huangs had been sentenced to three years in prison last March and their two sons were placed in a government orphanage for nine months and then released into their grandmother’s care in America. The couple is now looking forward to being reunited with their sons.
James Riordan is the author of thirty-three books, including The Coming of the Walrus, The Bishop of Rwanda and Break on Through: The Life & Death of Jim Morrison which was made into the movie, The Doors by Oliver Stone. Riordan also wrote Stone’s biography. He has won nine national awards and was nominated for a Chicago Area Emmy for television writing. He has also written several screenplays and is widely recognized for his ministry work with teenagers.