U.S. urges Cuba to release prisoned contractor
WASHINGTON, Dec 03, 2012 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --
The U.S. government on Monday
urged Cuba to release Alan Gross, a U.S. contractor serving a
prison sentence in the country.
"Tomorrow Alan Gross will begin his fourth year of unjustified
imprisonment in Cuba," said State Department spokesman Mark Toner
at a regular briefing. "The Cuban government should release Alan
Gross and return him to his family, where he belongs."
Toner cited a range of health problems that Gross has suffered
since his arrest, including significant weight loss and severe
"We continue to ask the Cuban Government to grant Alan Gross's
request to travel to the United States to visit his 90-year-old
mother, Evelyn Gross, who is gravely ill. This is a humanitarian
issue," he added.
Gross, 63, was arrested on Dec. 3, 2009 at a Havana airport on
charges of providing satellite communication equipment to anti-
government groups, but Washington said he was an employee of the
Development Alternatives Company and was helping Cuban Jews to
communicate with Jews abroad.
In March 2011, a Cuban court handed down a 15-year prison
sentence to Gross for spying and working to topple down the Cuban
The case has added a new source of friction between the United
States and Cuba, which have not had full diplomatic relations
since January 1961.
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