Cuba sentences US citizen to 15 years
The Cuban government has sentenced a US contractor to 15 years in prison for covertly distributing laptops and cellular phones on the island.
Washington swiftly decried the jailing of American Alan Gross as “another injustice” and called for his immediate release.
Cuba’s Popular Provincial Tribunal found Gross responsible for “acts against the independence or territorial integrity” of the country, according to a statement read on state-run television.
Gross, 61, was working under contract for the US State Department when he was arrested in late 2009 for distributing the electronic devices to members of Cuba’s small Jewish community.
“Today’s sentencing adds another injustice to Alan Gross’s ordeal,” said US National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor in Washington.
Cuba also said that during the trial, the defendant “acknowledged that he had been used and manipulated” by the US Agency for International Development, which financed Gross’s company.
Gross, who can appeal the sentence, was originally accused of targeting universities, religious centers and ethnic groups to create “underground communications networks designed to foment provocations against the revolution.”
His family was devastated, Gross’s attorney said.
“At this difficult time for Alan and his family, we again call on the Cuban government to release him immediately on humanitarian grounds,” said lawyer Peter Kahn.