Friday, February 4, 2011

"Viente Anos"

Cuba to seek 20-year sentence for U.S. contractor
4:17 PM EST

HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuban prosecutors will seek a 20-year prison sentence for jailed U.S. aid contractor Alan Gross, who is accused of espionage in a case that has stalled U.S.-Cuba relations, the Communist Party newspaper Granma said on Friday.

In an official statement, the newspaper said Gross was accused of "Acts Against the Independence and Territorial Integrity of the State" and that U.S. diplomats had been advised of the charge.

It said a trial date would be set soon for Gross, who has been detained since December 2009.

The United States has said Gross was only providing satellite communications equipment and Internet access for Jewish groups in Cuba and was not a spy.

He was working in a U.S. program aimed at promoting political change in Cuba, which the Cuban government views as subversion.

Washington has previously demanded his release and said there would be no major initiatives in U.S.-Cuba relations until he was freed.

(Reporting by Jeff Franks; Editing by Paul Simao)
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