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Qatari court orders temporary release of American couple

DOHA, Qatar — A court in the wealthy Persian Gulf kingdom of Qatar ordered the temporary release of Matthew and Grace Huang, an American couple accused of starving their 8-year-old daughter to death, a family member said after the hearing on Wednesday.

The presiding judge, Abdullah al-Emady, ordered the Huangs to not leave Qatar before a hearing on Dec. 3. In deciding to free them from detention, the judge reversed his earlier rulings that they should be kept in custody throughout their trial, said Daniel Chin, the brother of Grace Huang.

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“After the Qatar court heard Matt and Grace’s side of the story for the first time, the presiding judge ordered Matt and Grace to be released on bail, with a travel ban preventing them from returning home to the United States,” Chin said.

“Though we see this as a positive step, their trial is not over and we will continue to work within the Qatari legal system to demonstrate their innocence,” the statement said.

The Huangs arrived in Qatar in July 2012 accompanied by three children adopted from families in Africa, two boys and a girl. Their daughter, Gloria, died last January, after not eating for several days, and the Huangs were charged with child trafficking, accused of starving Gloria to sell her organs or “conduct medical experiments on them.”

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