Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Clinton meets wife of US aid worker jailed in Cuba

Clinton meets wife of US aid worker jailed in Cuba

WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with the wife of
Alan Gross, an American aid contractor jailed in Cuba on espionage
charges, and pledged to keep up efforts to secure his freedom.

"We have used, and continue to use, every appropriate diplomatic
channel, publicly and privately, to press for Mr Gross's release," said
State Department spokesman William Ostick in a statement after Clinton's
talks with Judy Gross.

Describing Gross's incarceration as "unjust," it said the United States
had urged governments around the world, prominent figures traveling to
Cuba, and religious leaders to press for Gross's release.

"We call on people around the world to raise this issue with the Cuban
government, because Mr Gross deserves to come home to be with his
family," the statement added, without giving any further detail about
Tuesday's meeting.

Gross, who is 63, was arrested in December 2009 for distributing laptops
and communications equipment to members of Cuba's small Jewish community
under a US State Department contract.

He was found guilty in March 2011 of "acts against the independence or
territorial integrity" of Cuba and sentenced to 15 years prison.

Gross has always denied the charges against him and said earlier this
month that he had lost about 100 pounds in weight since his arrest.

Cuba has indicated that they would consider releasing Gross if the
United States frees members of the Cuban Five espionage ring.

Those five men were found guilty in 2001 of trying to infiltrate US
military installations in southern Florida and were given long prison
terms, ranging from 15 years to life.

Cuba has acknowledged the five were intelligence agents, but says they
were gathering information on "terrorist" plots by Cuban expatriates in
Florida, not spying on the US government.

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