Tuesday, September 25, 2012

44 senators write Cuban president about Md. man

44 senators write Cuban president about Md. man
JESSICA GRESKO, Associated Press
Updated 8:25 a.m., Tuesday, September 25, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — Forty-four senators have written to Cuba's president
to call for the release of a Maryland man imprisoned in Cuba for almost
three years.

The one-page letter released Tuesday is signed by 34 Democrats, nine
Republicans and independent Joseph Lieberman. It says that the detention
of Alan Gross is a major obstacle to improving relations between Cuba
and the United States.

Among the letter's signatories are both of Maryland's senators,
Democrats Benjamin Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, as well as two former
presidential candidates, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Sen. John McCain,

"As we approach the three year anniversary of Alan's imprisonment, we
call on you to take action and grant him the belated release his
situation warrants," the letter says.

It urges Cuban President Raul Castro to release Gross on humanitarian

Gross was working as a U.S. government contractor when he was arrested
on Dec. 3, 2009. The 63-year-old was sentenced to a 15-year prison term
for crimes against the state after he brought restricted communications
equipment to the communist island nation while on a democracy-building

"Members of the Senate have traveled to your country, written to you and
your dignitaries, and employed other creative means to encourage Mr.
Gross's release. Yet these attempts thus far have been futile, and Mr.
Gross's ongoing detention in your country presents a major obstacle to
any further actions to improve our bilateral relations," the letter says.

The letter was dated Monday and addressed to the Cuban Interests Section
in Washington, which Cuba maintains instead of an embassy. A spokesman
for the Cuban Interests Section did not immediately respond to a request
for comment Tuesday morning.

"Until Alan is released and returns home, we will let the world know how
Cuba is violating the rights of an individual American citizen," Cardin
said in a statement released along with the letter.


Follow Jessica Gresko at http://twitter.com/jessicagresko


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