US contractor to go on trial in Cuba

By REUTERS
March 4, 2011 07:08

HAVANA - A US aid contractor facing up to 20 years in prison was to go on trial in Cuba on Friday, accused of supplying illegal communications gear to dissidents in a case that has highlighted US activities on the communist island.

Cuba says Alan Gross, 61, distributed sophisticated satellite phones under a US program that is outlawed and considered subversive by the Cuban government.

The United States said he was providing Internet access to Jewish groups but committed no crime.

A panel of judges will hear testimony and review evidence in a proceeding that may last only a day. Prosecutors said they would seek a sentence of 20 years for Gross, who has been jailed since his arrest in Havana on Dec. 3, 2009.


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