My sister and her husband, Grace and Matt Huang, are an American couple from Los Angeles who are being wrongfully imprisoned by the judicial system of Qatar in the Middle East. In 2012, Matt relocated to Qatar, with his wife and their three adopted children, to work on a 2022 World Cup infrastructure project for his American engineering firm. On January 15, 2013, my 8-year-old niece, Gloria, tragically and unexpectedly died. Matt and Grace were almost immediately imprisoned by Qatari officials under suspicion of human trafficking and intentionally starving Gloria to death. My two nephews were taken into custody and forced to live in a government orphanage.
Due to a poorly done autopsy by the Qatari government, the actual cause of Gloria's death remains unknown. However, racial bias and the lack of understanding of the challenges associated with high-needs adopted children led officials to charge Matt and Grace with murdering Gloria. The prosecutor told the judge, “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.” They tried to convince the judge that the murder may have been done in order to harvest her organs or to conduct medical experiments on her. Needless to say, all of these claims are completely false.
Matt and Grace truly believe in the purpose and need of adoption. They had even specifically requested placement with high-needs children, who often have difficulty finding families. In the case of each adoption, Matt and Grace utilized a respected adoption agency and obtained all the proper visas and the kids were given U.S. Passports. They also received specialized training on adoption and how to care for high-needs children. They saw living in Qatar as an opportunity for their children to have an enriching cross-cultural experience.
In court, defense witnesses testified how exceptionally Matt and Grace cared for all their children. Additionally, expert testimony explained that it was scientifically and medically impossible that Gloria died of starvation. Not one single piece of evidence was presented showing that my sister and her husband harmed Gloria in any way.
After a 9 months of tireless effort, my nephews were finally released from the orphanage and allowed to return to the U.S., under the custody of my mom. One month later, Matt and Grace were released from prison on their own recognizance, but banned from traveling outside the country.
On March 27, 2014, Matt and Grace were sentenced by the court to three years in prison despite overwhelming evidence that they are innocent of the accusations against them. Inexplicably, the court did not render a verdict of any kind; it did not declare Matt and Grace guilty or not guilty of murder or any other crimes. They remain banned from leaving the country.
The imprisonment of Matt and Grace is only half of the injustice. There are also two children, their sons, who were ripped away from their parents. By placing them in an orphanage, Qatari officials demonstrated a fundamental lack of understanding about international adoption and the needs of adopted children. Upon returning to the U.S., my nephews were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of being re-institutionalized and having their parents taken from them.
Matt and Grace are innocent, and their continued detention in Qatar is a gross violation of their basic human rights. There is growing international support for Matt and Grace. Innocents experts like The California Innocence Project and The David House Agency are working on their behalf. Even the United Nations has called for the travel ban to be lifted.
Enough is enough. Please sign this petition for Matt and Grace to IMMEDIATELY be allowed to be reunited with their sons in the U.S. so that they can finally mourn the loss of Gloria and begin rebuilding their lives.
For more information and to donate for their freedom, please visit: freemattandgrace.com
Joanne Chin started this petition with a single signature, and won with 182,826 supporters. Start a petition to change something you care about.