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(photo credit: Ho New / Reuters)
American lawmakers and Jewish groups sent a barrage of letters to Cuba over the weekend calling for the immediate release of jailed Jewish American Alan Gross.
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A group of 19 US senators and 72 House representatives collectively petitioned Havana at the behest of the Jewish Federations of North America on the second anniversary of his incarceration for subversion.
“The release of Alan Gross is a humanitarian issue for all Americans,” said Michael Gelman, chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of the Jewish Federations of North America.
“Cuba should not hold captive this individual who belongs at home with his family in Maryland.”
An additional eight bipartisan lawmakers sent a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging the State Department to do more to free Gross.
Gross was arrested by Cuban authorities in Havana on December 3, 2009, for bringing satellite phones into the country without permission. He was later charged and found guilty of subversion and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Gross has denied the charges against him, saying he was sent by USAID to help set up a communications center for the Jewish community in Havana. His family says his health has deteriorated rapidly behind bars.