Alan Phillip Gross (born May 2, 1949) is a U.S. international development professional. In December 2009 he was arrested while in Cuba working as a U.S. government subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of a program funded under the 1996 Helms-Burton Act. He was prosecuted in 2011 after being accused of crimes against the Cuban state for bringing satellite phones and computer equipment (to members of Cuba’s Jewish community) without the permit required under Cuban law. After being accused of working for American intelligence services in January 2010, he was ultimately convicted for “acts against the independence or the territorial integrity of the state" in March 2011. He has been released from the Cuban prison 12/17/14 Cuba frees US prisoner Alan Gross 12/17/2014
From an JTA report published in the Jewish Press just 2 weeks ago:
American-Jewish contractor Alan Gross completed his fifth year in prison in Cuba on Tuesday, one-third of a 15-year prison term for “crimes against the state, and his wife fears he will not survive much longer.
Gross, 65, of Potomac, Md., was leaving Cuba when he was arrested in December 2009 for setting up Internet access for the Jewish community there as a contractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement issued Tuesday evening that Gross continues to suffer an “unjustified imprisonment in difficult conditions in Cuba.”
“We reiterate our call on the Cuban government, echoing foreign leaders and even Cuba’s allies, to release Alan Gross immediately,” Harf said in a statement.
Gross reportedly is in ill health and has lost more than 100 pounds since his incarceration, and has suffered from painful arthritis Gross’ wife Judy said in a statement released Wednesday that “Alan is resolved that he will not endure another year imprisoned in Cuba, and I am afraid that we are at the end.”
Cuba has expressed an interest in negotiating a trade of Gross for three Cubans who are jailed in the United States on espionage charges, an idea which the Obama administration has rejected.
In August, Gross said he could no longer take life in prison and reportedly said goodbye to his family.