by Henry Benjamin (JWire.com.au)
Federal Labor MP Michael Danby has raised the case of Alan Gross, a US citizen illegally detained in Cuba with Cuba’s ambassador to Australia.
In December 2009, Gross was detained by Cuban authorities. He had to wait 14 months before being charged in February 2011 with “actions against the independence or the territorial integrity of the state”. He was also accused by State prosecutors of engaging ‘in a subversive project aiming at bringing down the revolution’. Gross was tried in March 2011 and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Alan Gross worked for USAID and was on a mission to provide wireless networking and Internet connectivity for Cuba’s Jewish population. He was arrested on the final day of his fifth and last scheduled trip to Cuba. Gross. who suffers from degenerative arthritis, has lost 47 kgs and doctors believe he has a tumor in his shoulder. He is being independent medical evaluation.
A letter pleading Gross’s case has been sent to Hogh Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations Geneva office claiming Cuba’s treatment of Gross is tantamount to torture. 518 Rabbis from 12 countries, including Australia, have sent a letter to Cuban president Raul Castro urging Gross’s release. Danby continues to plead Gross’s case to Cuba’s Australian representatives.