Cuba to seek 20-year sentence for American 'spy'

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HAVANA: Cuban prosecutors will seek a 20-year jail term for an Americian citizen on charges of espionage, an official release said Friday.

According to the release, Alan Gross is charged with "actions against the independence and territorial integrity of the state."

The statement said the U.S. government had been notified of the decision through diplomatic channels. It also said Gross, his relatives and his family's lawyers could participate in the trial.

"We deplore the Cuban government's announcement that Cuban prosecutors intend to seek a 20 year sentence against Mr. Gross. As we have said many times before Mr. Gross is a dedicated international development worker who was in Cuba providing support to members of the Cuban Jewish community," said State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley.

"He has been held without charges for more than a year, contrary to all international human rights obligations and commitments regarding justice and due process. He should be home with his family now," he added.

Gross, a 60-year-old Maryland resident allegedly caught in Cuba distributing illegal electronic equipment, has been in jail for 13 months. Washington says Gross is an employee of the Development Alternatives company and was helping the Cuban Jewish organization communicate with their counterparts abroad.

(BNO NEWS )

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