The Anti-Defamation League is calling for the release of imprisoned American contractor Alan Gross, who on Tuesday marked his four-year anniversary in a Cuban prison after being convicted of committing "acts against the independence or territorial integrity of the state."
"On this fourth anniversary of Mr. Gross’ imprisonment, we reiterate our call on the Cuban Government to release him immediately on humanitarian grounds," ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said in a press release
. "We continue to call on other international leaders, particularly those in Latin America, who maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba, to do all they can to urge President Raul Castro to release him."
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Gross, a 64-year-old subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), was arrested in December 2009 after delivering computer and satellite equipment to three Jewish community groups on the island nation in an attempt to break the Cuban government's "information blockade," The Washington Post reported
In 2011, Gross was convicted and sentenced to 15 years
On Tuesday, the White House received a letter from Gross
that had been sent through the U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana, in which he pleaded directly to President Barack Obama asking the president to personally intervene in his case.
"I know that your administration and prior administrations have taken extraordinary steps to obtain the release of other U.S. citizens imprisoned abroad – even citizens who were not arrested for their work on behalf of their country," Gross wrote.
"I ask that you also take action to secure my release, for my sake and for the sake of my family," Gross continued. "Officials in your administration have expressed sympathy and called for my unconditional release, and I very much appreciate that. But it has not brought me home."
In the letter, Gross wrote that his imprisonment has taken its toll on his loved ones, leading to the sale of his family home in Maryland, adding that both his wife and daughter are stricken with cancer.
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In reaction to Gross' letter, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that he was not sure whether or not Obama had read the letter, but that the "State Department has kept Mr. Gross' case at the forefront of discussions with the Cuban government and made clear the importance the United States places on his welfare."
"They have also engaged a wide range of foreign counterparts, and urged them to advocate for Mr. Gross' release," Carney added.
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