Friday, September 19, 2014

Case of American jailed in Cuba back in US court

Case of American jailed in Cuba back in US court
By Associated Press September 19 at 5:38 AM

WASHINGTON — An attorney for a Maryland man who has spent over four
years imprisoned in Cuba will argue before a federal appeals court that
he should be allowed to sue the U.S. government over his imprisonment.

An attorney for Alan Gross, who was working in Cuba on a government
contract when he was arrested in 2009, was expected to appear Friday
before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District
of Columbia Circuit. A lower-court judge threw out the lawsuit against
the government in 2013, saying federal law bars lawsuits against the
government based on injuries suffered in foreign countries, but Gross'
lawyers appealed.

Gross was detained while working to set up Internet access as a
subcontractor for the U.S. government's U.S. Agency for International
Development, which promotes democracy in Cuba. It was his fifth trip to
Cuba to work with Jewish communities on setting up Internet access that
bypassed local censorship. Cuba considers USAID's programs illegal
attempts by the U.S. to undermine its government, and Gross was tried
and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

In 2012, Gross sued the government and the contractor he was working
for, Maryland-based Development Alternatives Inc., for $60 million,
saying they failed to give him adequate training and warnings before he
undertook the risky assignment. The lawsuit did not say how much each
party should pay or how Gross' attorneys arrived at the $60 million figure.

Gross said in court in Cuba that he was a "trusting fool" who was
"duped," though documents filed in the case show he was aware his work
in Cuba was dangerous.

"This is very risky business in no uncertain terms," he wrote in one
report on his work, and a 2012 AP investigation also found he was using
sensitive technology typically available only to governments.

The Gross family settled with Development Alternatives Inc. for an
undisclosed amount in May 2013.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg threw out the lawsuit against the
U.S. government that same month. That decision led to Friday's appeals
court hearing, during which Gross' lawyer and the government will each
have 10 minutes to argue their sides of the case.


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Source: Case of American jailed in Cuba back in US court - The
Washington Post -

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