DOHA // A US couple initially accused in Qatar of starving their adopted daughter to death to sell her organs on Monday appealed their conviction on reduced charges of parental neglect, a judicial source said.

Matthew and Grace Huang appeared in court Monday, the judicial source said, adding that they only found out this week the charges that provided the basis for their three-year-jail sentences of March 27.

“Today was just a formality,” the source said, requesting not to be named.

The Huangs, who are of Asian descent, were arrested in January 2013 after the death of their eight-year-old daughter Gloria, who was adopted from an orphanage in Ghana. They maintain she died of an eating disorder rooted in a troubled early childhood.

Both adoption and multiracial families are rare in Qatar, a conservative Gulf Arab emirate, and the family’s supporters maintain Qatari authorities misunderstood the Huangs’ situation.

The couple were released in November pending trial, but the court denied their request to leave the country to join their other two adopted children in the United States.

The public prosecutor had pushed for the death penalty for the Huangs.

In addition to imprisonment, the court ordered the couple to pay a fine of 15,000 riyals ($4,100) each and to be deported after serving their sentence.

But in reading the verdict, the judge did not specify the exact charges for which they were convicted.

* Agence France-Prese