Jewish group wants Cuba to free Gross before High Holidays

By GIL STERN STERN SHEFLER
September 13, 2011 16:40
1 minute read.

 
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A major Jewish group on Tuesday threw its support behind a new petition calling Cuba to free a Jewish-American that has been jailed in that country for nearly two years.

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations joined the initiative launched by the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington a few weeks ago calling on Havana to let aid worker Alan P. Gross out of prison.

“Alan Gross’ actions in Cuba were never intended to harm the government of Cuba, but rather to help the island’s Jewish community,” Richard Stone, Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents, wrote in a press release. “In his remarks to the Cuban court, Alan said, ‘I do deeply regret that my actions have been misinterpreted as harmful and as a threat against the security and independence of Cuba. Surely, this runs counter to what I had intended.’ ” Gross has recently been sentenced to 15 years in prison undermining the state by providing cell phones to improve the communications capacity of the Cuban Jewish community.

The Conference of Presidents has called for his release based on humanitarian groups. Both Gross’s mother and daughter are battling cancer and he has lost 100 pounds behind bars. The organization said releasing before the upcoming Jewish high holidays would be a welcome gesture.

The petition is online at www.jcouncil.org/gross

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