(HAVANA) -- A Cuban court on Saturday found American Alan Gross -- who was held in the country for more than a year -- guilty of illegally bringing communications equipment into the country. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
“Today’s sentencing adds another injustice to Alan Gross’s ordeal,” said U.S. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor in a statement. “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.”
A Maryland native, Gross was detained in December 2009 as he tried to depart Havana's airport. He had been working as a U.S. government subcontractor distributing communications devices to Jewish communities in Havana, according to U.S. officials. He was accused of "acts against the independence and territorial integrity of the state."
Gross was working for the Bethesda-based Development Associates International on a USAID program that promotes democracy. He has been held in Havana's maximum-security Villa Marista prison, most of that time without charge.
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