Middle East

US couple cleared over daughter's death leave Qatar

Grace and Matthew Huang at Doha airport Image copyright AFP
Image caption Their departure ends a two-year legal battle for the couple

A US couple cleared by a Qatari court of causing their adopted daughter's death have left the country after a three-day delay.

One of their representatives tweeted a picture of the couple, Matthew and Grace Huang, saying "wheels are up".

On Sunday an appeals court found them not guilty of starving to death their daughter Gloria, originally from Ghana.

But they were prevented from leaving when they arrived at the airport later that day.

The US Ambassador to Qatar, Dana Shell Smith, accompanied the couple on Wednesday to ensure they reached the departure lounge.

Ms Huang was in tears when her husband was delayed for five minutes at passport control, the Associated Press reported.

"Emotional. These are the moments all diplomats live for," the US ambassador later said.

Their departure was delayed on Sunday while they filed documents to rescind a travel ban, and for the Qatari authorities to confirm there would be no more prosecution appeals.

Image copyright Free Matt & Grace
Image caption The Huangs' two sons were permitted to return to the US with their grandmother during the trial

Matthew and Grace Huang were arrested on murder charges in January 2013.

At one stage, they were accused of starving Gloria to death in order to sell her organs, but were later convicted of child endangerment.

The couple said the little girl died of medical problems complicated by unusual eating habits that included periods of binging and self-starvation.

They have two other African-born children who left Qatar to live with relatives during the trial.

Western-style adoptions and cross-cultural families are relatively uncommon in the Gulf state, correspondents say.

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