December 01, 2011

SENATORS CALL FOR IMMEDIATE AND UNCONDITIONAL HUMANITARIAN RELEASE OF AMERICAN ALAN GROSS FROM CUBAN PRISON

Two-year incarceration is a major setback in bilateral relations and human rights violation

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and a bipartisan group of 18 senators, including Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Carl Levin (D-MI), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Dean Heller (R-NV), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI),  Chris Coons (D-DE), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), have written to the Cuban Government urging them in the strongest possible manner to immediately and unconditionally release Marylander Alan Gross who has been held in prison since December 3, 2009. 

“After two years in a Cuban prison, Mr. Gross and his family have paid an enormous personal price.  Mr. Gross has lost 100 pounds and suffers from numerous medical conditions.  In addition, … Mr. Gross’s daughter and mother are both fighting cancer, and his wife is struggling to make ends meet. We strongly urge the Cuban Government to immediately release Mr. Gross on humanitarian grounds and allow him to be reunited with his family,” the Senators wrote to Jorge Bolaños, Chief of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington

Calling Alan Gross’ continued incarceration a “major setback in bilateral relations,” the senators concluded: “We urge your government in the strongest possible terms to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Gross, so that we can resume a more positive path to the benefit of American and Cuban people alike.”

Gross was in Cuba to help the country’s small Jewish community establish an Intranet and improve its access to the internet, access which would allow the community to go online without fear of censorship or monitoring.  After being held for 14 months without charge and then a cursory two-day trial, he was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison.  His appeal to the Cuban Supreme Court was denied in August of this year.

Click here to read the letter to the Chief of Cuban Interests Section in Washington.