Saturday, December 24, 2011

Jailed contractor's wife 'heartbroken' over Cuban decision

By the CNN Wire Staff

December 24, 2011 -- Updated 1943 GMT (0343 HKT)
Alan Gross is seen with his wife, Judy, in this undated family photo.
Alan Gross is seen with his wife, Judy, in this undated family photo.
  • NEW: The State Department says it is "deeply disappointed"
  • Alan Gross has been imprisoned in Cuba for two years
  • Raul Castro announced that 2,900 prisoners would be released
  • Gross was not among them
(CNN) -- The wife of a U.S. subcontractor jailed in Cuba said Saturday she is devastated that Cuba is not including her husband among the nearly 3,000 prisoners being released on humanitarian grounds.
Cuban leader Raul Castro on Friday announced that 2,900 prisoners would be freed, but American Alan Gross was not among them, according to the Cuban Interests Section in Washington.
"To receive news in the middle of Hanukkah that the Cuban authorities have once again overlooked an opportunity to release Alan on humanitarian grounds is devastating. Our family is simply heartbroken," Judy Gross said in a statement.
The decision to release the prisoners follows "numerous requests" from their family members and religious institutions, and is a humanitarian gesture, Castro said.
The U.S. State Department also expressed displeasure with the decision Saturday.
If indeed Gross will not be released, "we are deeply disappointed and deplore the fact ... especially in light of his deteriorating health," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.
The United States continues to call for his release, he said.
Among those to be freed are prisoners over the age of 60, along with those who are sick, female or young with no previous criminal record. With some exceptions, prisoners convicted of spying, terrorism, murder and drug trafficking are not being released.
Gross was jailed in December 2009, when he was working as a subcontractor on a U.S. Agency for International Development project aimed at spreading democracy. Castro has accused him of importing satellite equipment to connect dissidents to the Internet, and this year Cuba's highest court upheld the 15-year sentence imposed on Gross for committing crimes against the security of the state.
He has maintained his innocence and said he was trying to help connect Cuba's Jewish community to the Internet.
"Alan is 62 years old, has lost 100 pounds in captivity, is increasingly mentally weak and depressed, and is losing all hope that he will ever see his mother again," Judy Gross said. "I again call on President Raul Castro to show compassion for our family's plight and release Alan during this important holiday for Jews around the world."
CNN's Dana Ford contributed to this report.
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  • vageorge 
    This windtalker is a fool. He is embarrassing the real windtalkers of WW11...A courageous Indian military outfit code talking to save lives. The Japanese could not break their code as they were talking Navajo in code. This guy in here calling himself a windtalker is embarrassing ...
  • guamgurl63 
    Why don't those of you that keep s**t talking the U.S. buy a ticket and get the hell out.
  • guamgurl63 
    I suppose you already have your ticket.
  • GandalfBeard 
    Truth hurts!
  • SpoonlsE 
    Here, is "subcontractor" another word for mercenary?
  • mcwhiteys1 
    Yeah he sure looks like a mercenary. Not!
  • GandalfBeard 
  • vgary 
    Alan sounds guilty to me.  Some people will do anything for money.  His first mistake was getting in bed with the U.S.  Never trust the U.S. government. They will leave you behind everytime.  Don't drop the soap!
  • SpoonlsE 
    Man, you're right!  There were never any POW/MIAs prior to 2008!
  • vageorge 
    Wasn't like that prior to obama
  • milboz
    Lost 100 pounds, hm at least he is not overweight any more, now he is normal again. Talking about Kuba and jailing their own citizens, same as US jailing that soldier who gave informations to Wiki Leaks, or lets talk about General Noriega president of Panama which US abducted and jailed for 40 years... more
  • macmaven36
    I guess he knew the risks and took them anyway. The Cuban government deems the internet as a dangerous tool to mitigate their power. And they are correct. Look at the uprisings that have been coordinated through the internet and blogs. This guys was a fool to think that he could do this without repe... more
  • harryreid 
    I feel bad for this gentleman and his family. However, when you travel to a foreign country, you need to follow their laws. I would think he would have known better. I wish him a speedy release if that's possible.
  • Mitch999 
    Why do people keep putting themselves in these situations?
  • SpcMMR
    I feel for the family, but what I don't understand is why anyone would go to Cuba simply to "connect Jews to the internet". I mean, even if he was sucessful, what good would that do for anyone except the small population of Jews there? It's hard to feel bad for the guy that puts his self in harms wa... more
  • milboz
    No, he was trying to make balloons there, please you think he would say that he was there trying to make US corporations to overthrow Castro, CIA tried to kill Castro almost 700 times and Castro is in Guinness book of records for that. And wife is devastated. What a BS. Was she devastated over wifes... more
  • jerru
    What the Cuba-apologists gloss over is the fact that Cuba routinely, unfairly imprisons and executes its OWN citizens.  But the fact that one American got imprisoned makes them happy.  If Cuba is such a magical Utopia then why does it have to censor and oppress its own citizens?  And anyone who like... more
  • GandalfBeard 
    What US-apologists gloss over is that the US routinely, unfairly imprisons and executes its OWN citizens.
  • DHarri 
    Because the people in charge don't want to lose their status and quality of life which is what motivates the leadership throughout the middle east.  Their personal welfare is more important than their citizenry and are only an ends to a means.
  • MrWindwalker
    Just like the American Government soes to it's own citizens......but in the USA they have more suttle means of controling their many homeless does one see living on the streets of the ???LAND OF THE FREE????hOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE LOST THEIR HOMES TO THE CRIMINAL ACTIONS OF THE MORTGAGE... more
  • joe68 
    The Cuban dictatorship is terrified of their people finding out what Libyans did to Gadhafi
  • ThirdeyeVNXX 
    He was clearly up to no good over there.  That's why he's in jail now.
  • NoMoreGOP12 
    Why do people continue to put themselves in harms way???
  • Howsthatnow 
    No he dosn't, vageorge is a troll. Everyone knows 22 out of 24 of al qaeda's top leaders (including Osama) have been taken out under President Obama's watch.
  • zenneth 
    vageorge, do you really believe what you're saying?

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