Wednesday, June 25, 2014

After mother's death, jailed American Alan Gross visited by wife in Cuba

After mother's death, jailed American Alan Gross visited by wife in Cuba
By Patrick Oppmann, CNN
June 25, 2014 -- Updated 0234 GMT (1034 HKT)
Alan Gross' wife, Judy, visits husband in Cuba a week after his mother's
The U.S. State Department contractor offered to return to jail after a
goodbye visit
The Cuban government denied his request, saying inmates can't travel abroad
Gross is serving a 15-year sentence for bring satellite equipment to island

(CNN) -- The wife of imprisoned U.S. State Department contractor Alan
Gross traveled to Cuba Tuesday as part of her ongoing effort to free her
Judy Gross did not talk to a CNN reporter outside Havana's Jose Marti
International Airport, and she and Gross' attorney quickly boarded a bus
provided by the Cuban government.
Last week, Gross' mother died after a long fight with cancer, Gross'
attorney, Scott Gilbert, said.
The Cuban government refused Gross' request to travel to the United
States to say goodbye to Evelyn Gross before she died. Gross had
promised that after seeing his mother he would return to his prison cell
at a military hospital in Havana.
"We would like to convey our heartfelt condolences to his relatives,"
Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs official Josefina Vidal said in a
statement. "It is necessary to clarify that neither the Cuban
penitentiary system nor the U.S. penitentiary system provide the
possibility for inmates to travel abroad, no matter the reason. "
Gross, 65, is serving a 15-year sentence for bringing satellite
communications equipment to Cuba as part of his work as a subcontractor
for the U.S. Agency for International Development. He was convicted in
March 2011.
Photos: Americans detained abroad
U.S. officials said Gross was merely trying to help Cubans bypass the
island's stringent restrictions on Internet access and have said his
imprisonment is one of the major obstacles to improved relations with Cuba.
In April, Gross embarked on a hunger strike to protest his continued
imprisonment. He later said he was suspending his hunger strike after
his mother pleaded with him to begin eating again.
Since his arrest, Gross has suffered a slew of health problems, his
attorney said, and lost more than 100 pounds.
"Alan is confined to one room, 23 hours a day." Gilbert said during an
interview with CNN in April. "He spends his day there in pajamas, he's
fed meals in his room. He's let out for an hour a day, to exercise an
hour a day in a small, walled courtyard where you can barely see the sky."
Cuban officials have said they want to negotiate Gross' case with
representatives of the United States in conjunction with the fates of
three Cuban intelligence operatives serving lengthy sentences in U.S.
But U.S. officials have called that effort blackmail and said the cases
are separate matters because Gross was not working as a spy in Cuba.
The diplomatic impasse is taking its toll on Gross, Gilbert said.
"The White House has yet to engage on this issue; we need the president
to make this a priority. Without that, Alan will die in Cuba," Gilbert said.

Source: Wife of jailed American Alan Gross visits Cuba - -

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