Monday, March 14, 2011

234. Cuba Sentences U.S. State Department Contractor to 15 Years in Prison

Alan Gross (Far Left) with
Security Guards in Cuba

By Americas News, March 12, 2011
A Cuban court sentenced US contractor Alan Gross to 15 years in prison on charges of subversive activities against the government that involved giving internet access to Cubans, according to publication of the decision on Saturday.
The court, which made the decision on Friday, found that Gross, 61, an employee of a firm working for the US State Department, had handed out satellite telecommunications equipment in defiance of laws on the Caribbean island.
The court said he had created secret networks of access to the Internet to help opposition groups organize against the government of President Raul Castro. His actions violated 'the territorial integrity of the State.'
The prosecutor had asked for a 20-year sentence. The US government protested the 15-year sentence as unjust.
Cuban prosecutors presented evidence that Gross, who has been detained since December 2009, had directly participated in a project of the US government 'to destroy the (communist) revolution' in Cuba.
The US government has insisted Gross was not a spy, but was involved in distributing equipment and access to the internet for Jewish groups in Cuba.
'Todays sentencing adds another injustice to Alan Grosss ordeal,' said Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council at the White House.
'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.'
The Alan Gross case is a serious obstacle to dialogue between the two countries, the US has said.

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