Cuban Court upholds Sentence for Jailed American

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Cuban Court upholds Sentence for Jailed American

Post by Admin on Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:47 am


HAVANA — Cuba's Supreme Court on Friday rejected a U.S. government subcontractor's final legal appeal of his 15-year prison sentence for crimes against the state.

Alan Gross' request to have his sentence reduced or thrown out was denied in a "definitive resolution," a note on state-run website Cubadebate said.

Gross has been behind bars since his arrest in December 2009, and this spring he was found guilty of bringing satellite and other communication equipment into the country illegally.

The Maryland native has acknowledged he was working on a USAID-funded democracy program, but says he meant no harm to the government.

"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' 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."

U.S. officials have said they did not expect the court to throw out Gross' conviction, but have held out hope that the end of the legal process might clear the way for his release on humanitarian grounds. Gross, 62, has lost 100 pounds (45 kilograms) in jail by his own estimation, and several family members in the United States have serious illnesses.

Cuban officials have said privately they are sympathetic to humanitarian appeals, but would not consider them until the Supreme Court ruled.

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