Cuban ends hunger strike, says Alan Gross to be freed

June 18, 2011 01:51


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HAVANA - A little-known Cuban dissident who launched a hunger strike seeking freedom for jailed US aid contractor Alan Gross said on Friday he began eating again because Cuban officials told him Gross will be released soon.

Angel Enrique Fernandez, 45, said he was told Gross, serving a 15-year sentence for illegally providing Internet equipment to Cubans, would be freed within two months.Gross' release would be good news for US-Cuba relations, which have been frozen by the case, but Cuban officials were not available to verify Fernandez' statements.

He and Vladimir Alejo Miranda, 48, crudely sewed their mouths almost shut in late April, stopped eating and demanded freedom for Gross, 62, who they said had been unjustly imprisoned. They also sought improved human rights on the communist-run island.

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