Saturday, November 15, 2014

Jailed American in Cuba loses appeal in case vs. U.S. government

Jailed American in Cuba loses appeal in case vs. U.S. government
Fri Nov 14, 2014 12:16pm EST

(Reuters) - A federal appeals court in Washington on Friday rejected a
lawsuit filed against the U.S. government by an American contractor
imprisoned in Cuba who says he was not warned about the risks of working
on the communist-controlled island.

Alan Gross and his wife Judy filed the $60 million lawsuit in November
2012 for gross negligence against the U.S. government and Development
Alternatives Inc, a Bethesda, Maryland, contractor.

Gross settled with DAI for undisclosed terms in 2013, and a U.S.
district court rejected his claim against the government.

The appeals court panel on Friday upheld the district court's finding
that the U.S. government has sovereign immunity because damage to Gross
occurred outside the country.

The lawsuit said Gross, 65, should have received better information and
training for his job of increasing Internet access and the flow of
communications. Gross was working for DAI under a contract with the U.S.
Agency for International Development.

Gross has been jailed in Cuba since December 2009. He is serving a
15-year sentence for providing Internet gear to Jewish Cubans under a
U.S. program that Cuba views as subversive.

The United States says Gross was merely helping the local population get
connected as part of a democracy-building project.

Information is tightly controlled on the Caribbean island, Internet use
is limited, and visitors are not allowed to carry satellite technology.

A spokeswoman for one of Gross' lawyers declined to comment.

Because of Gross' detention, tensions have mounted in already troubled
U.S.-Cuban relations.

Gross has threatened to end his life if he is not released before his
next birthday in May, his wife and lawyer say.

The three-judge panel said the Supreme Court had previously held that
the so-called foreign country exception "bars all claims based on any
injury suffered in a foreign country, regardless of where the tortious
act or omission occurred."

The judges suggested that any sense of injustice that the law did not
cover people sent to foreign countries at the behest of the United
States was a "policy argument ... better directed to Congress."

(Reporting by David Adams in Miami and Daniel Trotta in Havana; Editing
by Lisa Von Ahn)

Source: Jailed American in Cuba loses appeal in case vs. U.S. government
| Reuters -

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