Alan Gross: Castro's prisoner
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    Cuba gives Jewish-American aid worker 15-years in jail

    Cuba gives Jewish-American aid worker 15-years in jail
    03/13/2011 10:25

    US State Department, Conf. of Presidents and AJC condemn ruling on Alan
    after Cuba accuses him of engaging in "subversive" activities.

    Cuba sentenced Jewish-American aid contractor Alan P. Gross to 15 years
    in on Saturday for engaging in "subversive" activities, a
    decision which was strongly condemned by Washington.

    Gross had been by Cuban authorities last year and charged with
    secretly delivering satellite phones to the Jewish community on the
    island and entering the country on the wrong visa.

    "We deplore this ruling," Philip J. Crowley, the State Department
    spokesman was quoted by media as saying. " is a dedicated
    international development worker who has devoted his life to helping
    people in more than 50 countries. He was in Cuba to help the Cuban
    people connect with the rest of the world."

    The Obama administration also condemned the ruling. "Today's sentencing
    adds another injustice to Alan Gross's ordeal," Tommy Vietor, the US
    National Security Council spokesman said in a statement. "He has
    already spent too many days in detention and should not spend one more.
    We urge the immediate release of Mr. Gross so that he can return home to
    his wife and family."

    Several Jewish groups including the Conference of Presidents of Major
    North American Organizations and the American Jewish Committee have
    petitioned since his arrest calling for his immediate release.

    "We are disappointed that the presented Mr. Gross as
    attempting to destabilize the Cuban government when the project he was
    working on in Cuba was aimed at helping communication in the local
    Jewish community. As we mentioned in the appeal we sent to President of
    Cuba Raul prior to the trial, Mr. Gross has managed multiple
    humanitarian projects around the world and believed he was advancing his
    humanitarian work in Cuba, Conference of Presidents Chairman Alan Solow
    and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein said last week.

    Gross, 61, was convicted of "acts against the independence and
    territorial integrity of the state" for working to set up clandestine
    networks for Cuba dissidents using "sophisticated"
    communications technology.

    Prosecutors sought a 20-year sentence for the longtime development
    worker, who has been jailed since his arrest in Havana on Dec. 3, 2009.
    U.S. officials had contended from the beginning that Gross was only
    setting up Internet access for the island's small Jewish community.

    Few details of the trial have been released, but the television report
    said Gross told the court he had been "used and manipulated" by DAI, the
    Maryland-based company that had contracted him to work in Cuba.

    DAI had a contract from the US Agency for International Development
    (USAID) to conduct projects aimed at promoting political change on the
    Caribbean island.

    Since Gross was arrested speculation has been rife that he is being used
    as a bargaining card by Havana in return for several Cuban spies in US