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Entries in Jewish Community (2)

Sunday
Mar062011

Trial Concludes for American Held in Cuba

AFP/Getty Images(HAVANA) -- The trial for American Alan Gross, who has been held in Cuba for more than a year, has ended.

Gross faces a possible 20-year sentence for allegedly bringing communications equipment into the country illegally.

“The matter is now before a panel for decision,” Gross’ lawyer, Peter J. Khan, said in a statement. “The family remains hopeful that Alan will be home soon.”

State Department spokesman PJ Crowley confirmed the trial’s end.

“There is not yet a verdict,” Crowley tweeted. “We hope he will be released and allowed to return to his family.”

On Thursday, the State Department called on Cuban authorities to clear Gross of all charges.

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 is 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.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

Friday
Mar042011

American Held in Cuba for a Year Goes to Trial

ABC News(HAVANA) -- After being held in Cuba without charges for over a year, 61-year-old American Alan Gross will appear in a Cuban court Friday, facing a possible 20-year sentence for allegedly bringing communications equipment into the country illegally.

On Thursday, the State Department called on Cuban authorities to clear Gross of all charges.

"We hope it will be resolved so that Mr. Gross can return home to the United States.  He's been in prison for too long," spokesman P.J. Crowley said. Cuban officials have told the Americans they will allow U.S. officials to witness the trial.

Gross, a Maryland native, 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's now 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.

A U.S. State Department official, asking not to be named, told ABC News, "We deplore the Cuban government's announcement that Cuban prosecutors intend to seek a 20 year sentence against Mr. Gross.  As we have said many times before, Mr. Gross is a dedicated international development worker who was in Cuba providing support to members of the Cuban Jewish community.

"He has been held without charges for more than a year, contrary to all international human rights obligations and commitments regarding justice and due process," said the official.  "He should be home with his family now.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio