Alan Gross: Castro's prisoner
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    Clinton meets wife of US aid worker jailed in Cuba

    Clinton meets wife of US aid worker jailed in Cuba

    WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with the wife of
    Alan Gross, an American aid contractor jailed in Cuba on espionage
    charges, and pledged to keep up efforts to secure his freedom.

    "We have used, and continue to use, every appropriate diplomatic
    channel, publicly and privately, to press for Mr Gross's release," said
    State Department spokesman William Ostick in a statement after Clinton's
    talks with Judy Gross.

    Describing Gross's incarceration as "unjust," it said the United States
    had urged governments around the world, prominent figures traveling to
    Cuba, and religious leaders to press for Gross's release.

    "We call on people around the world to raise this issue with the Cuban
    government, because Mr Gross deserves to come home to be with his
    family," the statement added, without giving any further detail about
    Tuesday's meeting.

    Gross, who is 63, was arrested in December 2009 for distributing laptops
    and communications equipment to members of Cuba's small Jewish community
    under a US State Department contract.

    He was found guilty in March 2011 of "acts against the independence or
    territorial integrity" of Cuba and sentenced to 15 years prison.

    Gross has always denied the charges against him and said earlier this
    month that he had lost about 100 pounds in weight since his arrest.

    Cuba has indicated that they would consider releasing Gross if the
    United States frees members of the Cuban Five espionage ring.

    Those five men were found guilty in 2001 of trying to infiltrate US
    military installations in southern Florida and were given long prison
    terms, ranging from 15 years to life.

    Cuba has acknowledged the five were intelligence agents, but says they
    were gathering information on "terrorist" plots by Cuban expatriates in
    Florida, not spying on the US government.