Saturday, March 5, 2011

Gross found guilty

By Jeff Franks, Reuters
HAVANA — American contractor Alan Gross was found guilty on Saturday of working to destabilize Cuba's communist government, Cuba's state-run television reported, and now faces up to 20 years behind bars in the latest blow to U.S.-Cuba relations.
A panel of judges reached the widely expected verdict after two days of testimony including a vigorous defense by Gross, and now must decide his sentence, which will come in a few days, the report said.
Cuba accused Gross, 61, of distributing sophisticated satellite communications equipment for Internet access under a U.S. program that is outlawed and considered subversive by the Cuban government.
He was officially charged with "acts against the independence and territorial integrity of the state."
Prosecutors are seeking a 20-year sentence for the longtime development worker, who has been jailed since his arrest in Havana on December 3, 2009.
Gross, who looked gaunt in a business suit on Saturday, can appeal the decision to Cuba's highest court. Wife Judy Gross said he has lost 90 pounds (41 kg) in jail.

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