Latin America & Caribbean

Cuba jails US internet project worker Alan Gross

Mr Gross and his wife in Jerusalem
Image caption Mr Gross's wife Judy has pleaded for his release on humanitarian grounds

US project worker Alan Gross has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for crimes against the state in Cuba.

Gross, 61, was arrested in December 2009 accused of setting up illegal internet connections in Cuba under a programme funded by the US government.

His work involved distributing communications equipment to Jewish communities in Havana.

The White House called the prison term "another injustice" for Gross and said he had already spent too long in jail.

"We urge the immediate release of Mr Gross so that he can return home to his wife and family," said White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor in a statement.

The US has previously agreed there can be no further easing of relations between the two countries until he is released.

Gross was in Cuba working as a contractor for the US Agency for International Development (USAID) on a programme aimed at promoting democracy in Cuba.

Such activity is outlawed and considered subversive by Cuba's communist authorities.

Judy Gross has pleaded with the Cuban government for her husband's release on humanitarian grounds.

Her husband suffers from gout, ulcers and has developed arthritis in prison.

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