Alan Gross: Castro's prisoner
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    White House urges Cuba to release US contractor

    Posted on Saturday, 03.12.11

    White House urges Cuba to release US contractor
    The Associated Press

    WASHINGTON — An outraged White House said Saturday it wants the Cuban
    government to immediately release an American international development
    worker sentenced to 15 years in for crimes against the state.

    National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said the prison term
    "adds another injustice" to 's ordeal.

    Vietor said , a Maryland native in December 2009 while on
    a U.S.-backed democracy-building project, has already spent too many
    days in detention and "should not spend one more."

    Gross was found guilty by a Cuban court on Saturday. The court said the
    program Gross worked on showed that the U.S. still seeks to overthrow
    the Cuban government.

    State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley echoed that sentiment.

    "We deplore this ruling. Alan Gross is a dedicated international
    development worker who has devoted his life to helping people in more
    than 50 countries," Crowley said in a statement. "He was in Cuba to help
    the Cuban people connect with the rest of the world."

    The Obama administration and Gross' family say he was working to improve
    access for Cuba's Jewish community. accused Gross of
    working on a "subversive" program.