By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, August 5 — US citizen Alan Gross, the Development Alternatives Inc. employee who was caught bringing illegal communications equipment into Cuba, just had his 15-year jail sentence confirmed. A Havana court made its’ decision public on Friday.
Gross, 62, has admitted working for a US government funded program in Cuba but has claimed he didn’t know the objective was to promote regime change.
Barring a political or diplomatic solution to the case, Gross, a Maryland resident, could conceivably be in jail in Cuba until 2024.
The “gadget geek,” as his wife Judy called him, was first arrested in December 2009. He had said he was helping the Cuban Jewish community gain satellite internet access.
“While we are not surprised, we are extremely disappointed with today’s ruling, which marks the end of Alan’s legal process in Cuba,” Gross’s U.S. lawyer, Peter J. Kahn, said in a statement. “The family is heartbroken by today’s decision, but remains hopeful that there continues to be room for a diplomatic resolution of this matter,” reported AP.
“Entering his 21st month in a Cuban prison, Alan and the entire Gross family have paid an enormous personal price in the long-standing political feud between Cuba and the United States,” Kahn’s statement continued. “Now, more than ever, we call upon the two countries to resolve their dispute over Alan’s activities diplomatically, and request that President Raul Castro release Alan immediately on humanitarian grounds.”
According to the appeals ruling, the March 4 trial effectively showed that Gross illegally introduced telecommunications equipment to create internal networks as part of the US government’s program to destabilize Cuba and subvert the constitutional order, noted the cubadebate.cu website.
Development Alternatives Inc., Gross’s employer, is best known for its lucrative US government contracts in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan but also works on programs and projects around the world, including Latin America.