Cuban court studying appeal from US contractor

HAVANA - Cuba's highest court has received an appeal by US aid contractor Alan Gross seeking to overturn a 15-year jail sentence handed down last month for crimes against the Cuban state, the head of the court said on Saturday.
Ruben Remigio Ferro, president of the Supreme Tribunal, told reporters the appeal had been filed in recent days by lawyers for Gross, who was accused of helping set up unauthorized Internet access for Cuban dissidents.
The case brought to a halt a brief warming in long-hostile US-Cuba relations and threatens to keep them on hold because the United States has said there will be no progress while Gross, 61, is held.
"There is an appeal presented. It is at the disposition of the judges who are attending the case," Remigio Ferro told reporters while watching a military parade in Havana on Saturday. The parade preceded a Communist Party congress later in day to consider reforms to the Cuba's troubled economy.